Prepping 101 (12 tips to get you started!)

One of the questions I get most is, “How do I start prepping?” One of the biggest secrets about prepping is that there aren’t any big secrets. Everyone does things differently and has a unique situation that needs to be addressed when prepping.

These are the basics that you need to start prepping.

Here are some tips from around the web to help you get started prepping.

The Top 12 Prepping Ideas From Around the Web

Tip #1:

The single most important step to prepping is to just start doing it. This may seem easier said than done if you are on a tight budget but it’s true.

The most important and difficult thing for people to do is to just get started doing something.

Source: Tactical

This tip goes well beyond just getting started with prepping. This is my number one tip if you refer back to my article on How to Stop Bleeding. Just getting started will help you out. Too many people get caught up in the “planning” phase and never get into the “action” phase. Get out there and get started!

Tip #2:

The foundation is, obviously, essentials like air, water, and shelter. Once you’ve got those covered you can then think about the next layer, and so on. At the top of the pyramid is self-actualization, which means things like enjoying hobbies and “finding yourself.”

Source: The Prepared

Starting with the basics is the best place to begin. Once you have the basics covered, move on to other items.

Tip #3:

The way of our past has simply been forgotten by the convenience of our current economy. Start collecting bottled water. The first item on your prepping checklist is to get water because you won’t be able to survive more than three days without it. Head to the dollar store or the now for some cheap finds in bottled water, but take heed of these bottled water warnings. Later you can get fancy with water storage tanks and water filtration methods.

Get water. Buy a few gallons of water starting with at least three gallons per person in your household. Buy water at the dollar store for $1 a gallon. You can’t live more than three days without water. It’s a precious resource. It’s just a start, but a good one.

Source: Happy Preppers

It would be best if you started by storing water. You’ll need more water than you think, and you probably won’t be able to store all the water that you need. A good water filter like a Big Berky is a great investment! This allows you to gather water from outside sources without worrying about contaminants.

The first step in filtering water should always be to pour the water through a clean cloth or even a coffee filter. This removes a majority of the large sediment from the water and will extend the life of your water filter.

Are you confused about which water filter to buy? Make sure you read our article How to Choose the Best Survival Water Filtration System to figure out what you should look for in a quality filter.

Be careful with water potentially contaminated with gas or other petroleum products. Most filters cannot remove this form of contamination from the water.

Tip #4:

Concentrate on bugging in, especially when you’re first starting out. Later, you can work on a bug out plan, but if you don’t have enough to bug in for long, that’s where you should be concentrating your efforts. Chances are high that you will not be driven out of your home by intruders; and unless you live in a place that may be hit by really terrifying natural disasters (very bad hurricanes, tornadoes, tsunamis, etc.), it’s a pretty safe bet to make that you’ll be able to be at home when an emergency happens. Home is quite frankly the safest place to be unless there is a direct threat anyway – things are where you put them, you have access to a lot more goods and supplies than you can carry with you – there are so many advantages to bugging in so that, if it’s an option, I would recommend bugging in over bugging out.

Source: More Than Just Surviving

Many beginning preppers focus on bugging out when they first get started prepping. Bugging out should be your last resort. All of your preps are at home so try to stay there for as long as possible. The only real reason to bug out is if staying in your home is unsafe.

Tip #5:

Disasters can strike quickly and without warning. What that disaster is, depends on where you live. Knowing what type of disasters could affect the area you live in will help you plan more thoroughly for an event.

Deciding on the type of disaster to prepare for will also help to determine the type of survival gear that is needed. If you are new to prepping, you should start by planning for the disaster that is most likely to occur in your area.

Source: Humans Are Free

When you’re first starting, it makes the most sense to focus on the most likely disaster you could face. For example, if you’re worried about an EMP but live in a flood zone, start by getting things that will help you in case of a flood as you build toward your end goal of prepping for an EMP attack.

Tip #6:

Food – We can last about 4 weeks without food, making food priority number two. The best approach is to stock up on foods you and your family eat on a regular basis, but keep in mind you probably won’t have electricity for refrigeration. An easy approach is… every time you make a trip to the grocery store, pick up an extra can or two of meat, vegetables, fruits, peanut butter, boxed crackers, and a few packaged treats. You can add to this list as you go, but the first goal is to build up a 3 week supply of food and water as soon as you can. (Don’t forget Fido!)

Source: The Survival Gene

Once you’ve stored your first few days of water, add some food to the mix. I often suggest that people work back and forth between food and water until they have about a month’s supply.

Tip #7:

You probably won’t be able to learn everything you need to know before the next disaster strikes. And if the power is out or the Internet is down, you won’t be able to Google whatever you need to know, so buy some books or print important articles and put them in a three-ring binder.

Source: Urban Survival Plan

Knowledge is everything when it comes to prepping. Try to learn something each day, even if it isn’t anything amazing; it could prove useful in the future.

I like Urban Survival Site’s suggestion of building an old-school library. In many disaster situations, the internet won’t be as reliable (or available at all).

Tip #8:

Job loss is a risk everyone faces, even if you are self-employed. Does your family have provisions to get you through a hard time? I have heard people talk about losing work and going home to bare cupboards. How do you choose what to spend that last paycheck on? Will you get work fast enough to continue paying your bills?

Source: The Tiny Life

Prepping helps in all kinds of disasters. Job loss is something that people often don’t consider when prepping. If you need an extra reason to get started prepping, this may be it.

Tip #9:

Do not go into debt preparing, but gather a little at a time. There is much you can do that will cost you little and that is gaining knowledge. Investing in preparations today is an investment in your family’s survival in the future.

Source: Preparing for SHTF

Prep as much as you can afford. Don’t go crazy buying hundreds or thousands of dollars worth of food and gear if you can’t afford it. Too many of us get caught up with shiny new toys and forget that prepping is supposed to get you out of trouble, not get you into it.

Tip #10:

Flour: Grab about 20 or 30Lbs of flour. Even if you don’t use much flour today, you would be surprised at how quickly if goes when you are making bread and pancakes. Flour is also a great way to extend your food supply if you happen to get unexpected house guests.

Sugar: Grab 10Lbs of sugar. Sugar is another staple of baking and can also be used to sweeten many other bland food. Coffee, tea or cool aid? You’re going to need sugar if you plan on drinking something other than water.

Salt: Pick up 5lbs of salt. Our bodies need salt to survive, although too much can be bad for your health. Salt also makes some of the bland foods we might be eating a little more palatable.

Source: Survivalist Prepper

Stocking up on basic staple foods can be much more cost-effective than buying piles of freeze-dried foods. Staple food items like rice, bean, salt, and sugar will outlast other long-term storage foods.

Tip #11:

Lately, these fear ramblings largely focus on what will happen in the event of a natural disaster or terrorist attack. (I know there are other things to worry about too, maybe even more pressing, how about you not tell me about them in the comments.) And while I’ve always laughed at the doomsday preppers who build bunkers and stockpile guns, I’ve recently started to consider that they might be on to something. Not for an apocalypse, necessarily, but for a disaster on an ordinary American scale: Hurricanes Katrina or Sandy, September 11th, even the 2010 blizzard with its empty grocery shelves and no clear routes to the hospitals. In my early-morning panics, I ask myself, how on it do I think the Trump administration will be? Will Trump’s FEMA be a fast, organized, efficient machine?

Source: LifeHacker

This is two tips in one, well, one observation and one tip. The first is observation. Prepping has become mainstream. When places like LifeHacker are covering prepping 101 tips, you can know two things. Prepping has made it to the main stage, and the people prepping aren’t the same old demographic that most people would expect.

Now the tip. No one can go it alone forever. With more people prepping now than at almost any time in history, there are likely others in your area that prep. Contacting them before disaster strikes could result in an ally when you need them most.

Tip # 12

Get the mental attitude – understand what your specific challenges will be and make a plan to be safe in those instances. Do you need to prepare for earthquakes, wildfires and civil unrest? How will your family communicate if you are separated? Once you have a plan you can buy or make the things you need.

Source: Preparedness Mama

Having the correct mindset goes even further than understanding your situation. This is perhaps the most important prepping 101 tips of them all. The mindset to survive, no matter the opposition, will take you farther than almost any other item you can store away!


Getting started prepping can be a daunting task. Follow our prepping 101 outline, get started as soon as possible, and focus on the basics. You’ll be more prepared than you ever thought you could be in no time.

Check out our other preparedness articles for more information on where to go from here. Our article on 41 great prepping tips is a good place to start.

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