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Elise

How would you recommend a beginner prepper get started prepping?

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Elise    923

I've asked this question before on Google+ and the responses I got were really interesting, so I'd like to see what you guys say about the topic:

If you were confronted by a person who didn't know the first thing when it came to prepping, but wanted to start on his or her journey to prepare their family for the worst, what would you recommend starting with?

Personally, I feel like a stockpile is a relatively easy/straightforward thing to advise them to start with, but after that, I'm not sure what I would suggest for them to do. Please let me know what you think! Kinda unsure here.

What would you say to a beginner prepper who asked you for advice on how to get started?

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zackmars    508

Buy a tent, a good amount of food, a good knife or 2, some water/water purification, and go camping

Buy a good backpack, and go rucking

figure out in what situations you may need to bug out, plan several ways to get there

build a BOB based upon what you learned from above, a pack that will satisfy your needs, but won't weigh you down

 

Planing ahead saves pain and suffering 

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btl5008    104

My suggestion would be to look at their EDC.  IMO the very first line of prepping is quality EDC.  this is what you always have on hand to deal with a situation no matter what.  developing a EDC routine, getting used to it, and sticking with it is important, and it helps develop a rudimentary mindset for basic preparedness.  to me, this is sort of a first line of prepping. 

  examine the things they carry with them every day.  and then compare that to what they will actually NEED on a daily or regular basis.  get a decent knife, and EDC light, a watch, multitool, whatever will be useful for their life.  I didnt always carry a flashlight with me when i was younger.  when i first started though, i was astounded at how much i used it and just how handy it was.  things like this help reinforce that preparedness mindset.  the first time that pocket knife or flashlight or whatever is right there on hand to save the day, a light will click in their head. they were prepared for a taxing situation before it ever happened.  they were ready

i also suggest going out camping and hiking when you can and begin developing a few basic skills.  compile some essential gear and build from there.  it can be tough and daunting to try and get everything together over night.  not to mention expensive. start slow and do what you can.  it could be as simple as grabbing a few extra canned goods the next time you go shopping.  most people just flat dont have the disposable income to go from woefully unprepared to super survivalist over night.  itll take some time, but the more you chip away, the closer you will be to the end goal. 

develop those skills.  learn to do simple things like build a fire and put up a shelter.  when i go out, i always try and do at least a few tasks with as little equipment/convenience as possible.  take building a fire for example.  if you are camping, theres a good chance you took a lighter or some nice simple modern way to build a fire along.  to me, its worth putting that convenience off to the side and trying to do it the hard way.  that way you are developing skills for a situation where you might not have the convenience of a lighter.  you are way better off trying to learn how to make a simple shelter or a fire without matches when you life doesnt depend on it.  when/if you fail, at least you arent in a life threatening situation as a result.  better to learn before your life depends on it

this next thing however, is my absolute number 1 recommendation to people.  it is very simple, but also very difficult and one that people often forget or ignore. and that is to REDUCE/ELIMINATE YOUR DEPENDENCIES!!

drugs, alcohol, cigarettes caffeine, sugar, internet, cell phone, whatever it may be.  we all probably have something we are dependent on.  have you ever thought about how you would react if that thing suddenly went away?  How many people do you know that cant even function without a cup of coffee in the morning?  i cant even imagine the pandemonium that would ensue if say the internet went out tomorrow or cell phones stopped working and never came back. countless people would be utterly lost without them.  same with smoking or any of tons of other examples.  what happens when you can no longer get the thing you depend on?  dont be one of those people

i feel like it is very important to at a minimum realize that you have these dependencies, and work to minimize their hold on you.  Now i am not saying to not use the internet or any other convenience in your life.  i like technology and gadgets as much as anyone, but i think it is healthy to look at things like these as conveniences and tools.  take full advantage of them when they are viable options for you, but dont become so dependent that you cant function if it were to suddenly go away. 

this is a difficult thing to do TBH.  i use a computer for work almost daily.  i carry a cell phone.  but i like to think that if they arent there anymore i wouldnt be totally lost without them.  i look at my cell phone as a telephone and not a life machine.  the chemical dependencies are a little easier, though it takes a tremendous amount of will power to quit something you are addicted to.  but you are way better off dealing with it now than when you cant get it anymore. not saying dont partake in the things you enjoy.  im a beer drinker myself.  but if beer went away, id be bummed out rather than totally screwed.

i guess that is enough ranting.  i guess if i had to give one piece of advice it would just be to do something.  anything.  you have to start somewhere.  even if you start off with the wrong priorities, you will figure it out.  but you have to start somewhere.  the more you get into it, the more things will start to make sense

 

Edited by btl5008
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Elise    923

i guess if i had to give one piece of advice it would just be to do something.  anything.  you have to start somewhere.  even if you start off with the wrong priorities, you will figure it out.  but you have to start somewhere.  the more you get into it, the more things will start to make sense

Very good comment and I love how you closed with this. So damn true.

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Gary_Gough    1,186

The lightest and most valuable thing you can carry is knowledge. Learn how things work, and how to make and fix things. Make friends, as much as we are conditioned to think that we should be independent, a group always has skills and abilities beyond any one person. ( In allot of ways the myth of independence is a way to keep people powerless. ) Take a first aid course, a first aid kit is nice, but knowing what to do, or even just being calm and trying, will save lives. Pick up "The SAS Survival Handbook" lots more then you will ever need to know. ( the author hates coffee but he does come from the same culture that proclaimed Saskatoon berries to be fine for the natives but unappealing to the cultured pallet, so not a major surprise. )   Get an amateur radio license, you don't need code now, the course material is online, and once you have it in Canada it's good for life.  A 2 meter handheld ( Baofeng UV-5R for instance ) is about $40, fits in the palm of your hand, and if you are in range of a repeater you will have potentially world wide coverage. In a real emergency the rules are optional ( if it involves saving lives you can talk to anyone ) Generally in a natural disaster the hams will have communications up before anyone else. Take the Canadian Red Cross First Aid and CPR course ( or equive ) for some of us work will pay for that. Some other courses are mostly drilling in common sense to make it reflex ( H2S Alive = run cross wind and uphill ). If you can, learn to use a Scott Airpack, before you need to.

Buy bulk, stock a pantry, in normal times it saves money, in abnormal times you have time to adapt without panic about where your next meal is. Keep a weeks supply of potable water ( tap water in reused jugs, bottles , anything with a good lid, maybe a couple of 20 litre food grade plastic pails ) Lots of events can disrupt utilities, heat in the winter and water top the list of things everyone needs. A skidoo suit will get you through a winter storm without power far better then a credit card. A propane camp stove will melt snow and hot drinks make everything seem easier.

Food is a lower priority ( I type this while in the third day of a weekly fast, working on reducing insulin dependence ) it's not fun being hungry, but a few missed meals generally doesn't hurt.

 

73s de VE5GWG

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Elise    923

The lightest and most valuable thing you can carry is knowledge. Learn how things work, and how to make and fix things. Make friends, as much as we are conditioned to think that we should be independent, a group always has skills and abilities beyond any one person. ( In allot of ways the myth of independence is a way to keep people powerless. ) Take a first aid course, a first aid kit is nice, but knowing what to do, or even just being calm and trying, will save lives. Pick up "The SAS Survival Handbook" lots more then you will ever need to know. ( the author hates coffee but he does come from the same culture that proclaimed Saskatoon berries to be fine for the natives but unappealing to the cultured pallet, so not a major surprise. )   Get an amateur radio license, you don't need code now, the course material is online, and once you have it in Canada it's good for life.  A 2 meter handheld ( Baofeng UV-5R for instance ) is about $40, fits in the palm of your hand, and if you are in range of a repeater you will have potentially world wide coverage. In a real emergency the rules are optional ( if it involves saving lives you can talk to anyone ) Generally in a natural disaster the hams will have communications up before anyone else. Take the Canadian Red Cross First Aid and CPR course ( or equive ) for some of us work will pay for that. Some other courses are mostly drilling in common sense to make it reflex ( H2S Alive = run cross wind and uphill ). If you can, learn to use a Scott Airpack, before you need to.

Buy bulk, stock a pantry, in normal times it saves money, in abnormal times you have time to adapt without panic about where your next meal is. Keep a weeks supply of potable water ( tap water in reused jugs, bottles , anything with a good lid, maybe a couple of 20 litre food grade plastic pails ) Lots of events can disrupt utilities, heat in the winter and water top the list of things everyone needs. A skidoo suit will get you through a winter storm without power far better then a credit card. A propane camp stove will melt snow and hot drinks make everything seem easier.

Food is a lower priority ( I type this while in the third day of a weekly fast, working on reducing insulin dependence ) it's not fun being hungry, but a few missed meals generally doesn't hurt.

 

73s de VE5GWG

Really like this advice. Lots of goodies in there even for those who aren't beginners.

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PJL    385

By prepping I assume you mean 'bugging-IN'.

Because each person / family is unique I would suggest to a non-prepper…

Get a pad and pencil.

On Fri. night after everyone is home from work / school. Fill one bath tub.

Go to the street and turn off the water. Go to the breaker panel and trip all the breakers (except the one for the fridge). Put all cell phones, laptops, etc. in the car trunk and lock it.

No one is allowed in the fridge or to use the kitchen lights.  Remain in the house until Sun. night.

Note what you miss..

Start an outline of Water, Food, Cooking, Heat, Light, First aid, Entertainment etc.

Seems like after 2 nights and days doing without, they would have a good idea where to start.

PJL ______________________________________________________________________

     Your own common sense should tell you ~~ That common sense alone is not enough.      

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Elise    923

By prepping I assume you mean 'bugging-IN'.

Bugging out counts, too! Making caches - starting to put together an off-grid location - learning wilderness survival skills, etc. Just any sort of before-an-emergency-happens preparation.

 

But yes, testing out how a couple of days without power would be is a great place to start!

Edited by Elise
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btl5008    104

Bugging out counts, too! Making caches - starting to put together an off-grid location - learning wilderness survival skills, etc. Just any sort of before-an-emergency-happens preparation.

 

But yes, testing out how a couple of days without power would be is a great place to start!

i think in an ideal situation, bugging in would be preferable, simply due to the options it provides.  you presumably have shelter as well as all of the additional supplies and assets you have available at your home.  That however assumes that staying put is an option.  what you do is dictated by circumstance.  prepping is largely about creating options for yourself.  stocking your house or shelter to the brim wont do much good if you cant access it or are forced to leave.  you dont know beforehand what the situation will be, so being prepared for multiple possibilities is pretty essential.

sure you want to stay put with as many supplies as possible is ideal, but you cant let that be your only option in case staying put isnt  possible.  being ready for whatever you might have to do is the name of the game

 

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William    193

For both bugging out and bugging in, I say camping as step one. It is an easy thing to do and most people will not even realize that the skills are transferable at first. It can even be car camping, but I would not recommend RV as that requires no skill. 

The reason why I think this can help with bugging in, is that with camping there will be little to no running water, electricity and natural gas. With many SHTF scenarios these things will also be very limited in availability. Plus the gear for bugging out and camping are effectively the same, although you will likely end up lightening up the load if bugging out on foot. 

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Bubbadreier    23

I have a very simplistic answer for this question, Water and Food. But expanding that answer to give a new prepper a road map to follow depends on a number a factors. What they are prepping for? Bugging in or out? Do they live up north, down south, east or west coast? Family or just them? Any experience in camping or bushcraft? There are a bunch more questions that would need to be asked, all are question that need to be answered to truly give a good answer. 

Like I said, simplest answer is water and food for at least 2 weeks. 

Edited by Bubbadreier
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Dan Seven    1,302

That is the best answer, true, and I agree that what are you prepping for and for who is where it is at.

Over  half the year in much of the northern hemisphere a priority not on fire and fuel means frozen water and food.

As you mentioned, where they are means a shift in planning..

 

 

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Elise    923

i think in an ideal situation, bugging in would be preferable, simply due to the options it provides.  you presumably have shelter as well as all of the additional supplies and assets you have available at your home.  That however assumes that staying put is an option.  what you do is dictated by circumstance.  prepping is largely about creating options for yourself.  stocking your house or shelter to the brim wont do much good if you cant access it or are forced to leave.  you dont know beforehand what the situation will be, so being prepared for multiple possibilities is pretty essential.

sure you want to stay put with as many supplies as possible is ideal, but you cant let that be your only option in case staying put isnt  possible.  being ready for whatever you might have to do is the name of the game

 

100% agree! :)

The reason why I think this can help with bugging in, is that with camping there will be little to no running water, electricity and natural gas. With many SHTF scenarios these things will also be very limited in availability. Plus the gear for bugging out and camping are effectively the same, although you will likely end up lightening up the load if bugging out on foot. 

Very good point. And camping is quite a fun way to get started with prepping, for sure!

Like I said, simplest answer is water and food for at least 2 weeks. 

I like that. Simple is definitely a good way to start for those who may begin to feel overwhelmed by how much prepping they might like to do. I find that food + water is the easiest way to get started, too.

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Mountainmum    32

My suggestion would be to look at their EDC.  IMO the very first line of prepping is quality EDC.  this is what you always have on hand to deal with a situation no matter what.  developing a EDC routine, getting used to it, and sticking with it is important, and it helps develop a rudimentary mindset for basic preparedness.  to me, this is sort of a first line of prepping. 

  examine the things they carry with them every day.  and then compare that to what they will actually NEED on a daily or regular basis.  get a decent knife, and EDC light, a watch, multitool, whatever will be useful for their life.  I didnt always carry a flashlight with me when i was younger.  when i first started though, i was astounded at how much i used it and just how handy it was.  things like this help reinforce that preparedness mindset.  the first time that pocket knife or flashlight or whatever is right there on hand to save the day, a light will click in their head. they were prepared for a taxing situation before it ever happened.  they were ready

i also suggest going out camping and hiking when you can and begin developing a few basic skills.  compile some essential gear and build from there.  it can be tough and daunting to try and get everything together over night.  not to mention expensive. start slow and do what you can.  it could be as simple as grabbing a few extra canned goods the next time you go shopping.  most people just flat dont have the disposable income to go from woefully unprepared to super survivalist over night.  itll take some time, but the more you chip away, the closer you will be to the end goal. 

develop those skills.  learn to do simple things like build a fire and put up a shelter.  when i go out, i always try and do at least a few tasks with as little equipment/convenience as possible.  take building a fire for example.  if you are camping, theres a good chance you took a lighter or some nice simple modern way to build a fire along.  to me, its worth putting that convenience off to the side and trying to do it the hard way.  that way you are developing skills for a situation where you might not have the convenience of a lighter.  you are way better off trying to learn how to make a simple shelter or a fire without matches when you life doesnt depend on it.  when/if you fail, at least you arent in a life threatening situation as a result.  better to learn before your life depends on it

this next thing however, is my absolute number 1 recommendation to people.  it is very simple, but also very difficult and one that people often forget or ignore. and that is to REDUCE/ELIMINATE YOUR DEPENDENCIES!!

drugs, alcohol, cigarettes caffeine, sugar, internet, cell phone, whatever it may be.  we all probably have something we are dependent on.  have you ever thought about how you would react if that thing suddenly went away?  How many people do you know that cant even function without a cup of coffee in the morning?  i cant even imagine the pandemonium that would ensue if say the internet went out tomorrow or cell phones stopped working and never came back. countless people would be utterly lost without them.  same with smoking or any of tons of other examples.  what happens when you can no longer get the thing you depend on?  dont be one of those people

i feel like it is very important to at a minimum realize that you have these dependencies, and work to minimize their hold on you.  Now i am not saying to not use the internet or any other convenience in your life.  i like technology and gadgets as much as anyone, but i think it is healthy to look at things like these as conveniences and tools.  take full advantage of them when they are viable options for you, but dont become so dependent that you cant function if it were to suddenly go away. 

this is a difficult thing to do TBH.  i use a computer for work almost daily.  i carry a cell phone.  but i like to think that if they arent there anymore i wouldnt be totally lost without them.  i look at my cell phone as a telephone and not a life machine.  the chemical dependencies are a little easier, though it takes a tremendous amount of will power to quit something you are addicted to.  but you are way better off dealing with it now than when you cant get it anymore. not saying dont partake in the things you enjoy.  im a beer drinker myself.  but if beer went away, id be bummed out rather than totally screwed.

i guess that is enough ranting.  i guess if i had to give one piece of advice it would just be to do something.  anything.  you have to start somewhere.  even if you start off with the wrong priorities, you will figure it out.  but you have to start somewhere.  the more you get into it, the more things will start to make sense

 

loved this post - spot on about dependancies!! What is EDC please?

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btl5008    104

Also a good place to start prepping is some CPR and 1st aid certifications, that training goes a long way.

definitely agree on this.  any knowledge that you can gain.  any skills you can learn are all hugely important.  even if they are very basic, they are better than nothing. 

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Mountainmum    32

EDC = Every Day Carry, what are those items you have on you at all times, there is a post on it that people have listed the things they carry on the forum, great place to start. 

many thanks!!

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A prepper is not completely about what you must become, just like a parent isn't made from going to parenting classes.

 

Have you ever grown a garden, canned food, fired a gun or used a bow?  Have you ever done woodworking with hand tools or gone camping on a basic level?  It is not a huge journey into what you don't know, so much as a trip further down the road most of us have already traveled.

 

Surviving in its most extreme form, is, of course, a challenge that requires years of self-discipline, training, and from personal experience, a bit of a unique mind, but that is the extreme.  Communities have always been the basis for most of our culture, and the step into surviving will be no different.  If you are no good at mechanical work, you can still grow food, which is essential too.  Maybe you don't have a green thumb, but you are trained as an ER nurse.  Don't you think there will be a need for that?

 

I come from the extreme side of surviving, but I am in a situation where I am mostly alone in my beliefs.  I have been a hand to hand combat instructor for most of my adult life (both with weapons and empty handed.)  I have been trained to live off the land for a long time.  I can trap, fish, hunt, and grow and preserve food.  Sound great?  Well what happens the first time I get bit by a tick with Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever?  If I stay alone, I will probably die.  So much for all that training.

 

Tribe up.  Find people with similar beliefs.  Get as good as you can at your one or two survival skills.  If you can't work with others and barter skills, then society will have its first such failure ever.  You don't need to know everything.  You just need to know something.

 

Kuroiryu-shi

 

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Elise    923

Tribe up.  Find people with similar beliefs.  Get as good as you can at your one or two survival skills.  If you can't work with others and barter skills, then society will have its first such failure ever.  You don't need to know everything.  You just need to know something.

Great words! And since this is your first post on the forum, welcome! :)

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