The Prepper’s Guide to Survival – A Helpful Guide!

Preppers Guide To SurvivalThe term “prepping” has either a very positive connotation or a negative one depending on who you are. People are either really for whatever they believe it is, or they think those people are some sort of paranoid fanatics. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of in between when you talk to people that have heard the term.

So what is “prepping” really? I like to think of prepping as my grandmother’s “saving for a rainy day” combined with the Boy Scout’s “be prepared”. I am the kind of guy that wants to have money put away that I can not only enjoy my retirement, but have the money to do good in the world at that time. Prepping is just an extension of this way of thinking. It is being able to take care of yourself and family the best way possible no matter what comes your way.

In this article first we are going to describe the process of exactly how to put your preparedness plan (and list) together. Then I will briefly touch on the different types of preppers, because knowing where you are in this list helps in giving you perspective. Finally, I will go over some specific preparation Items I think are important, just to give you some ideas. (Be sure to check out our recommended preparation items on the “Recommended Gear” page of this website.)

Table Of Contents:

    1. How To Put Your Prepping Plan Together
    2. The Four Types Of Preppers
    3. Important Preparation Items
    4. Final Thoughts!

How To Put Your Prepping Plan Together

In a nut shell prepping involves first analyzing what problems are most likely to happen in your life (loss of a job, injury or illness etc.) as well as what disasters (tornado, earthquake, financial crisis, terrorist attack etc.) are most likely to happen (especially in your area). You then put together a step by step action plan to prepare the best you can for each of these scenarios.

In this plan it is important to prioritize what you feel you should work on first. Most of us have limited resources and so this is typically not something people do all at once. Once you have things prioritized with the steps put into a specific plan, then it is just a matter of consistently taking action and following through on that plan.

Step 1: Analyzing

AnalyzingThis is mostly an educated brainstorming attempt. The idea is to identify every type of problem that you might run into. For example if you start first with financial issues, the questions you ask yourself might go something like this: Do you or someone in your family have an illness that may get worse? What impact on your family resources would that cause? Is your line of work physical? What are the most common injuries people in your line of work run into?

How secure is your job really? If you got laid off through no fault of your own how difficult would it be for you to find a similar job? How much time realistically is that most likely going to take? How will that affect your resources? How secure is the industry you’re in? If the country goes into a recession or depression could your company be forced to downsize? And you keep asking questions like that until you feel confident you have thought through every likely possibility.

Then you move on to the next scenario such as natural disasters. Is your area prone to forest fires? Do you live in a wooded area? And so on. Then what about tornadoes, earthquakes, etc. You write all these things down on a piece of paper or your tablet. Your goal is to come up with every possible negative scenario that is a possibility. And you then go through each one and say if this happened to me, am I prepared?

The last thing that we need to do in this step is to create a list for each of the scenarios above. The idea here is to ask yourself “if this happened to me, what is the minimum I would need to do in order to be prepared?” At this stage you are not considering priorities or finances. You are just going through each event, looking at it alone, and asking yourself that question. And you will create one of these lists for each possible scenario you came up with.

And remember to also ask yourself for each scenario if there is a possibility that you might need to evacuate. When having to evacuate is a possibility then you need to add that in the mix. In storing food for instance, you may have one type of food you store for riding out a natural disaster in your home, and different food added into part of a 72 hour bug out bag emergency kit should you need to evacuate.

Step 2: Planning & Prioritizing

PrioritizingIn this step, as you might imagine, we get to use all of this data to put together a plan of action. You now have a complete list of every problem and/or disaster scenario you feel is realistically a possibility. These are the things you as a “prepper” will be preparing for.

Remember that this is not a plan for everything to be done in a day. Getting overwhelmed is one of the most common reasons people don’t prepare. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. This is not even something that most people try to have completed in a year. Typically these things take years to get into place. The exact length of time is most often determined by your available resources. But in order to actually accomplish this you need a plan. And that plan needs to be prioritized based on the most important things first.

So the best way to approach this from my experience is to now take all of your lists and combine the things in common. For example your 72 hour bug out bags will work for all of the scenarios that you came up with that has a possibility of causing you to need to evacuate. The food you store in your home for emergencies where you will not have to evacuate will work for all of those scenarios. The reason it was important to analyze and come up with every possible scenario was to help you think of everything important that you would need. So now use your lists, combining like items, to come up with a single master list.

Your goal in this process is to be as complete or comprehensive as you can. The more things you can think of that you really would need in these situations, the more truly prepared you can become. That being said, even if you do the most phenomenal job ever in putting together this list, down the road you will think of other things and add to it. Know that is perfectly normal and okay. And remember that even though I keep using food in my examples, there is a lot more than just food you will be accumulating in your preparation. A lot of other things will be on your lists. Things like hygiene products, flashlights, lanterns, a tent and perhaps different forms of fuel might be some examples.

Once you have your list put together, now you need to prioritize. You can live months without food, but only days without water, so maybe getting water storage is first on your list. I am just using that as an example. But you go through your whole list like that and prioritize everything. Then you put together a realistic budget, one you can stick to without killing yourself.

Now you put together a procurement plan of what items you will get this month, what items you will get next month, and so on. If you are too aggressive or optimistic with your plans you may not stick to it. Make these plans easy enough that you know you can stick to it even if you would like to get things together faster. We are trying to be the tortoise here not the hare. We are eating this elephant one bite at a time. We want to actually accomplish this.

Finally be sure to include in your plan things like how you will communicate. Disasters happen sometimes when not everyone is together. Also if you are separated where will you meet? If you have evacuate who is going to get the bug out bags, does everyone know where theirs is, and where will you meet? Think all of these scenarios through. I have a good article with questions to ask yourself to prompt you to think of all these things. It is called “Essential Tips For A Home Emergency Survival Kit – A Helpful Guide!“.

Step 3: Following Your Plan

Step by stepOnce you are at this stage in the process you have put together a very comprehensive well thought out plan. At this stage you will typically feel a sense of comfort and peace. You may not have actually procured any preparation items yet, but you now know what you need to do. There is peace in that.

You have your comprehensive list of needed items and have written out a plan or schedule as to month by month what you will purchase. This process allowed you to determine how long it will take to acquire everything on your list, so you now have a clear and defined goal.

To follow your plan and be successful your plan needs to be both fixed and flexible. Let me explain. It needs to be fixed in that you can change the items on your list, add items or take away items as you get new information. This is perfectly normal and important. You need to allow yourself to do this.

The part that needs to be fixed is that you spend the money each month you have allotted in your budget to buy the next items on your list. So your list can be adjusted, but your buying things on the list according to your budget needs to happen each month.  The spending of that budgeted amount each month for items on your list are the steps you are taking each month to get you to your goal. They are the bites you are taking to eat the elephant. It is important not to skip them.

The Four Types Of Preppers

In the world of preppers there are basically for different groups or types of preppers. They are the aspiring prepper, beginning prepper, committed prepper and the doomsday prepper. In this section I will go over each of these just briefly.

The Aspiring Prepper

Personal Financial CrisisThe first type of prepper, the aspiring prepper, is where we all (or at least most of us) started. This is where we just feel in our gut, that we are vulnerable to unfortunate circumstances that may happen either because of mistakes we make, through no fault of our own, or from things like natural disasters.

This is the stage, for some of us it lasted months and others years, where we know we need to do something but we are not quite sure yet what. Again like I said earlier for me this started out of a desire to just be prepared and save for a rainy day. Then as we learn more and get more information it becomes important enough to us to where we begin to take action.

The Beginning Prepper

Sustain Supply Bug Out BagMost beginning preppers still don’t have a plan. They have gathered enough information to know that they need to do something. Many of these start with buy extra food each month and fully stocking their pantry. Many hear the a 72 hour kit or bug out bag is important (which it is very important) and so they either buy them pre-made (see my article “Top 10 Premade 72-Hour Kits“) or they try putting them together themselves.

Like the aspiring prepper this period in a persons prepping life can last from a few months to many years, depending on the person. This is a stage where although action is being taken, the person is not really prepared even close to the way they feel they should be. As a result they always have that gnaw in their stomach telling them that they are still not prepared. There still is none of the peace I spoke about above even though some action has been taken.

The Committed Prepper

Augason FarmsThe committed prepper is the type of prepper you are if you are implementing the things in this article. This is the stage where you feel at peace because you know what you need to do and you have a achievable plan. These are people who know exactly what type of problematic scenarios they believe they realistically may encounter, and they know exactly what they need to do to feel prepared for these events.

This is the stage where you are committed to following your plan and taking each step each month eating that elephant one bite at a time. As a result people at this level of prepping begin to accumulate their supplies over time and the level of peace they feel grows each month as progress is made. There is not many better feelings than knowing that no matter what comes your way, you are prepared to provide for yourself and your family in the best way possible. Those times may be difficult if they come, but not as difficult as if you had not prepared.

The Doomsday Prepper

Amway ShelterSome of us never make it to the level of a doomsday prepper. I am not faulting this group but they are the group that cause some people to raise their eyebrow at the term prepper. Many view this level of prepping as taking things to the extreme. This is the group that lives off the grid in the middle of nowhere, builds an underground shelter and enough food storage for a small city.

If the person feels like a nuclear war or military invasion of our country is a realistic possibility, then this person is really only a committed prepper. They are just following the plan outlined in this article based on what they realistically feel might occur.  Countries have been invaded before and the Bible talks about some really bad things that happen at the end of the world.

The beautiful thing about this life is we all get to make our own decisions to prepare or not to prepare, and to what things to prepare for if we decide to. We all have our own free will or agency. Personally I consider myself more in the committed prepper category. I do believe the Bible and I do think the bad things prophesied about the last days will happen to the United States as well as the rest of the world.

So the reason for this article is to help each person through the process of assessing what situations they believe are likely, and putting a plan of action together that they can and will follow so they feel prepared to the level that they feel is realistic and important. I hope this article is successful in helping in this regard.

Important Preparation Items

Freeze Dried Food

Harvest Right Freeze Dried FoodAs you begin to plan the food that you want to store, I recommend including as much freeze dried food as possible. The reason for this is that the freeze drying process not only preserves the highest amount of nutrient value of any form of food preservation, but the food once reconstituted with water, tastes just like it did before it was freeze dried. Here is a short video from a company that makes home freeze driers named Harvest Right. The video shows all the types of food that can be freeze dried, and and what the food is like after it is reconstituted. To check out the price for one of these freeze dryers, click on this link: Harvest Right Home Freeze Dryers.

Freeze Dried Prepared MealsThere are also many companies that package and sell freeze dried food. You can buy individual freeze dried food like freeze dried chicken or freeze dried blueberries. Or you can buy freeze dried pre-made meals such as a freeze dried biscuits and gravy mix. Just like any pre-made foods they will typically have a bit more salt than if you made it yourself, so just keep that in mind if you need to for your health.

Here are some examples of some pre-made freeze dried meals you can get from Amazon:

Winter Survival Clothes

Fortress Clothing Zip Base LayerOut of all of the winter clothes that I have ever seen by far the very best is the clothing line from Fortress Clothing. This is clothing you can literally fall through the ice on a frozen lake, and once you get out you don’t have to change your close. Even if you are in sub-zero weather and soaking wet, you will be warm with these clothes. They are amazing! You can check their clothes out here: Fortress Clothing.

They have customers in Alaska that wear this stuff in minus 60 degree Fahrenheit weather! Here is an amazing video where they dress a guy from head to foot in Fortress Clothing, then they cut a hole in the ice on a frozen lake, and the guy jumps in! Then they pull him out and even though it is sub zero temperatures in a few minutes he stops shivering, and is no longer cold! Even though he didn’t change clothes and is soaking wet! Check it out!

Fortress Clothing HoodieI own a black version of this jacket I show in the picture to the left called the Fortress Hybrid Hoodie. Here is the link in case you want to check out the price! Fortress Hybrid Hoodie. I wear this as my normal winter coat because it is warmer than most winter jackets. They only have half of the normal insulation so if it is really cold I put on the heavier one. But for most things in the winter I am toasty, and in the spring when it warms up it works as a light jacket as well. I love it!

Emergency 72 Hour Bug Out Bags

Sustain Bug Out Bag 2Every person needs to have a 72 Hour Kit or Bug Out Bag in my opinion. You are not really prepared if you do not have one. You may have supplies at your home but if you have to evacuate what will you do? A 72 hour emergency kit is an absolute must. I like to buy them pre-made, and then add a few things they don’t have to them to upgrade them. I also think you save money doing it that way rather than buying everything separately. Some people I know have saved money doing it themselves, but it is a real hassle. To me the time it takes eliminates any benefit putting them together from scratch.

I would suggest reading my article “Top 10 Premade 72-Hour Kits“. My favorite pre-made kit, the ones I purchased, is called the “Sustain Supply Co. Premium Emergency Survival Bag“. I really did a lot of research when I was buying these and I really felt like they were the best value for the money. And they really are well equipped kits too. I really like them a ton!

Final Thoughts!

Being prepared is a lot of work. It takes careful thought and planning. But the peace of mind that it provides is very much worth it. And it is possible to do. There is no need to be overwhelmed! It is not as big of an elephant as many people think. Eating it one bite at a time is very doable!

If you have read this entire article and are now in this section I thank you very much for taking the time to read this article. (No matter how much of the article you have read I thank you for doing so!) I really hope that you have benefited and learned something from your time on this website. If you have then it was worth the effort! Also if you have benefited please share this article on your social media pages or email this article to a friend. We really appreciate it when people take the time to do that. It really helps us spread the word!


Hi! I’m David. For most of my life I have been interested in emergency preparedness. Over the many years things have changed a great deal. From freeze dried food, to LED lanterns, preparing for an emergency has never been easier. The continual research I have done over the years have become the basis for this website. Now it is one of the most trusted sources to learn about emergency preparedness. Read More

Recent Content