If you are new to prepping or if you have been thinking and reading about prepping, but haven’t started yet, I have something to say to you: Prepping is not complicated. Don’t over think it. Don’t delay, waiting until you figure out the very best way to proceed. Just get started.
After you’ve done some reading of prepping blogs and books, I would suggest focusing your initial efforts on four areas:
Begin storing some basic food staples: vegetable oil, grains (pasta, rice, flour, etc.), and protein (nuts, seeds, legumes, soynuts, etc.). I use the following guideline for my food preps: 2 fl. oz vegetable oil, 1.0 lbs grains, 4 oz. nuts/legumes per day. So a 30-day supply would have a half-gallon of veg oil, 30 lbs of various grains, 7.5 lbs of nuts/seeds/legumes. You will need or at least want other foods: frozen foods, canned goods, etc. But those three staples (oil, grain, protein) should form the foundation of your food preps.
If you have the land, time, and energy, it would also be very helpful to start a survival garden. Initially, you can grow whatever foods you would like, especially foods that would complement your stored food. Most persons cannot grow enough food, all on their own, to supply their entire dietary needs. Focus on growing foods that do not store well: fresh fruits and vegetables. Later, if your garden become large enough, you can also grow staple foods, like grains.
Suppose that your usual water supply (town water or a well) fails in some way. Either no water is available, or the water is contaminated with bacteria. You should have a water purification device, such as LifeStraw or LifeStraw Family, or the like. Be sure that the device you choose is capable of removing bacteria, protozoans (parasites), and viruses. Many devices do not have a fine enough filter to remove viruses.
I have a water purification device (LifeStraw Family), but we also store bottled water. I think it is useful to store at least one month’s worth of water, in case there is little or no water to be purified. You can’t use a water purifier on pool water, waterbed water, urine/sewage, or salt water. The filters can only remove particulate matter and pathogens, not chemicals or heavy metals. So stored water is also a necessity.
Not every prep is purchased. Knowledge is indispensable in prepping. Read books on every topic related to self-sufficiency and survival. And take a first aid course. The basic first aid course is, in my opinion, way to basic for survival purposes. Spend the time and money to take an advanced first aid course. I did, and it’s been very helpful.
Medical books are very useful when the SHTF and the usual medical resources (doctors, hospitals) are temporarily unavailable. See our links page for a list of useful medical books.
Store up over-the-counter medications that you frequently use, or anticipate you might need. Make sure you have enough of any prescription medications to last through a disruption in the health care system. Some doctors will allow you to have a 90-day supply of a medication that you need to use long-term.
I would also suggest having an extra pair of prescription glasses. And if you usually wear contacts, you should have actual glasses to use if the SHTF and contact lenses/fluids are not available.
This category includes making your home more secure against forced entry, putting valuable supplies hidden or under lock and key, and (if you agree with me on their usefulness) owning a firearm.
The windows and doors of your home are your first line of defense against a violent home invasion. Even if you own firearms, you should still make sure your home is difficult to enter by force. See our posts on home security here. It is relatively inexpensive to increase home security, and well-worth the time and effort.
Prep-Blog is very pro-Second Amendment, and we have many posts on guns and ammo. So for this post, I’ll just say that if you do not own a gun, but are thinking about getting one for prepping and survival purpose, do a lot of reading first. Consult with friends or family who are knowledgeable gun owners. And know your local (ever-changing) gun laws.
My top picks for a “first-time gun owner’s home defense” is a lever-action rifle. A long gun is more accurate than a handgun, especially if you are inexperienced as a shooter. The recoil, muzzle blast, and noise are all lower, and the velocity and effectiveness is higher for any given round. Lever-action rifles are (as of this writing) fifty state and federal legal — as long as you meet your state or city’s requirements (if any) for firearm ownership and can pass a background check. I favor the lever-action rifle in .38 special, which can also shoot .357 magnum ammo. You have your pick of ammunition with a wide range of bullet weights and velocities. For a new shooter, the .38 special from a rifle is particularly mild. Then once you are ready, you can jump up to the full power of a .357 magnum round.
For a first handgun for home defense, I’d pick a revolver in the same calibers: .38 special/.357 magnum. A handgun is less accurate and has lower muzzle velocity, but it’s easier to keep at the ready in the home.
Well, there is a ton of information on our blog and many other good blogs and sites. Prepping is a way of life, and as you delve further into the topic, it just gets more interesting. Plus there are many good people involved in prepping and survival, who will be happy to be supportive of your efforts, if you are just getting started in prepping.