A Beginners Guide to Prepping
Prepping 101. If there is one single thing in this life that should be valued over anything else it would be preparedness. This is not just preparedness for times of catastrophic levels but even everyday life. It could be as simple as keeping bottled water on hand in case of a water main break. To the extreme case of a hurricane. Being prepared is not something one should do after the fact. Nor, at the time of an event. It should be done well in advance and done with strategic planning.
Prepping 101 is designed to get you to think about these types of scenarios. What you might personally need to “ride it out” as the saying goes.
The “FIVE” of Prepping 101:
Now, these may seem super simple to most people. For many, these are items that they have never been without. They have never had to make their fire (without a fuel). They never had to go without food because a grocery store is right around the corner. Water comes out of the tap or they can buy bottled water at any time. And since cell phones are in every pocket communication has never been easier.
The recent development of COVID-19 and previous outbreaks like H1N1 and SARS, this should serve as a warning to all those who believe life will always go on as usual. We have seen complete shutdowns of schools, non-essential businesses, and stay-at-home orders across the country. You might be asking yourself where do I begin? Well, you came to the right place.
Let us start with water as it is essential to life as we know it and is a great starting point. On average an adult needs 1 gallon of water a day. Now this varies from person to person and day. Some days might require more water some less. The less active you are the less water you will need, the same goes for temperature, the hotter the more water your body will require.
Water is an inexpensive item to start stockpiling. An average-case of 32 – 16oz bottles of water will run you roughly $4 depending on where you are. Let’s do a little math, shall we! Let’s use a single person for this as the math can then be multiplied; depending on the number of people you have in your party. Our starting point is 1 gallon of water a day.
1 – gal = 128 fl oz of water
1 – 16oz x 32 = 512 fl oz
512 / 128 = 4 days
One person with a 32 case of bottled water has essentially a 4 day supply of water. So if you are looking to stock up for a family of 4, do the math. That is what you will need to sustain your family for a minimum of 4 days.
Now food can come in all shapes and sizes as we are well aware and this wouldn’t be a true 101 if I didn’t mention the fact that one can get their food through hunting, trapping, and fishing. For this 101 we will be discussing the types of food that are good for stockpiling long term and what may be needed to cook said food.
The average adult needs 1200 calories a day to survive and from 2400 to 3200 to thrive. Keep this in mind while prepping.
Freeze-Dried foods will always be one that is on the top of my list. You can get these in a variety of shapes and sizes, but one of the best and easiest to store and cook is going to be a #10 can. Two of my favorite brands are Mountain House & Augason Farms. Both offer a great product and pricing is reasonable for what you get. The #10 can specifically store very well and are stackable. They also allow for “in-out buying”, which is the practice of buying a can and keeping the newest in the back and always taking from the front is the oldest can, but with a 25-year shelf life, you usually don’t need to worry about this.
Energy Bars are another great choice to keep on hand. They are easy to transport, usually decent calorie count, and have ample sugar to keep you going. These aren’t always the cheapest option, but if you plan and buy as you can these have a decent shelf life and are great temporary meal replacements or added calorie snacks.
Protein is an essential element of your daily caloric intake, especially if you are active and tend to burn calories throughout the day through any sort of physical exertion. These days protein comes in all shapes and sizes. Red meat, powder, beans, and even milk are fortified with protein. That being said not all protein is created equal. To maintain your body and not lose critical muscle in a survival situation 10 – 20g of protein a day is needed. Plant-based protein will burn quicker in the body than a meat-based protein, so keep that in mind. Similarly, protein bars are going to be higher in sugar which will balance the burn of sugar and protein.
Carbohydrates in a survival, situation carbs are your friend. Carbs provide much-needed energy and sugars to help you power through the day. They can come from grains, beans, nuts, but they should be on hand in some fashion or another. Pasta will always be a great choice to stockpile as it lasts a decent amount of time and is fairly easy to prepare, while loaded with carbs.
I could go on forever about the different types of foods. In an SHTF scenario though, these staples will prove invaluable to help see you through it.
Ah, fire! The warmth-giver and the ever mesmerizing temptress. Fire is essential to life as it allows us to cook food, stay warm, and light our way. Although technology has replaced things like oil lamps and torches they are still in use by many preppers. There are 5 types of fire starters that I will always have on hand no matter what.
Now, many are probably thinking isn’t a Zippo a windproof lighter? Yes, but 2 is 1, and 1 is none. There are different types of windproof lighters and Zippo is one. There are very specific types of windproof lighters that I consider to be, actually windproof. If you have ever used a Zippo on the golf course or in a large open field you will know what I mean.
Along with the actual starter, I will usually carry some sort of waterproof tinder or fire starting material in a waterproof case. Here is one of my favorites as they are easy to use and store. Exotac Tinder
Shelter is pretty self-explanatory. A place where you can get out of the elements and stay warm and dry. This could be anything from a lean-to to a tent or house. Depending on a bug-in or bug-out type of scenario you might already have a shelter or not. A quality lightweight tent is always a good thing to have on stand-by. In the case you need to move from your home base to find food or water.
Often overlooked but extremely important, communication devices will be not only used for communicating with the outside world. They are a prepping 101 staple and will also be used as a means of calling for help or helping others. There are 3 types of devices I recommend to first-timers and one will require you to obtain a license to operate.
You may be asking yourself, why a whistle? Well, plain and simply a whistle is a great tool that cuts through everything and if you are hurt, lost, or trying to communicate under the radar with people in a close distance, a whistle is an amazing tool. Be sure to buy either a marine whistle or a survival whistle as these will be sturdy and loud.
Two-way Radio / CB Radio
Now, I put the two-way and CB in the same category because they are both short-range, and operate on channels vs frequencies. Neither requires you to obtain an FCC license and they are a cheap and effective way to communicate at short range. Unlike the whistle, only people with radios and on the same channel will be able to hear you or communicate with you. Make sure to do your research and purchase a quality item and enough to fit your needs.
This is where things start to get interesting. The world of Amateur radio is an interesting one and unfortunately a dying art. Now, if you are looking to just listen and not talk it is 100% legal to own and operate a ham radio. If the time comes that you ever want to talk by using the PTT, you will need a license from the FCC, which will come with a “call sign”. Ham radios can reach extremely long distances with the right equipment and in an SHTF situation will be an invaluable resource.
Seeing all the panic buying and irrational behavior that COVID-19 and the media have created, there are probably many of you who are looking into starting to prep. It may be to account for another lockdown scenario, or it could be a larger prep for something more substantial. Whatever the case may be I am glad you took the time to read prepping 101 and start somewhere. Interested in helping keep the blog alive check out our shop.
Stay calm, Stay safe, Stay strong.