Believe it or not, prepping has become more and more mainstream over the last decade. Increasingly more people are worried about what the future could hold. This fear is driving more people to look for ways to be prepared to protect their families and to survive if life as we know it is altered by some major crisis.
Because of this increased interest, prepping has become an industry just like anything else. Prepper websites, prepper forums, and survivalist TV shows are more prevalent than ever before. This means you may start to see the same prepper tips over and over again.
In this article we’ll give you a list of tips for new preppers, some less common tips, and some tried and true tips for preppers.
10 Tips for New Preppers
1. Get out of debt! If you have any kind of debt in a SHTF situation, you could find yourself and your family fighting to hold onto assets in addition to trying to survive. Start paying off debts now. Dave Ramsey has a great program to help individuals become debt free quickly. Use cash whenever possible and avoid credit card debt for any future purchases.
2. Maintain your vehicle and keep your gas tank full. If you’re one of those people who waits until your gas light comes on before you get gas, change that habit now. In an emergency that requires you to evacuate, you won’t want to waste time stopping for gas and it could very well not be available depending on the crisis.
Get in the habit of refueling whenever your tank is less than half full and make sure you do regular maintenance of your car so it’s reliable when you need it to save your life.
3. Customize your preps for your geographical area. One mistake many new preppers make is to buy a premade bug out bag (BOB). You must make sure that the BOB you have is adequate for the threats you may face in your area. Those in cold weather climates will need more supplies to stay warm whereas those who live in hot climates will need more supplies to stay cool and keep hydrated.
4. Make a plan and follow it. Many new preppers go all out and try to purchase everything under the sun they may need in a SHTF event. Not only is this an expensive method, it’s just not practical. Start small and plan first to survive in your home during a 24 hour emergency, then 72 hours and then a week.
Handle your bug out supplies the same way. Plan first for what you need to carry to get from work to home in an emergency. Then add what you would need to survive 24 hours away from home and increase gradually from there.
5. Practice using your preps. This is perhaps one of the most important tips for new preppers. Having the gear you need and not being able to get it to work right when your life and the lives of your family are in danger is the most helpless feeling.
Make sure you practice using your gear and supplies frequently in different scenarios and weather conditions so you can be confident in your skills when your life depends on it.
6. Learn multiple ways to start a fire. The ability to build a fire is a critical skill for any prepper. If you can start a fire, you can stay warm, cook, signal for help, dry out wet clothing, etc.
7. Stockpile on more water than you think you’ll need. One of the most critical resources for you and your family in just about any emergency is the ability to access clean water. The average person can survive only around 3 days without fresh drinking water. Learn how and where to collect water, how to filter it and how to purify it to make it safe for drinking.
8. Learn basic first aid techniques. In an emergency or crisis, emergency services personnel and professional medical help will be overwhelmed or could be inaccessible for various reasons.
Make sure you know the basics for treating not only minor cuts and illnesses but critical medical issues such as dehydration, deep wounds, broken bones, burns, choking, and shock. The more you know, the better you can protect yourself and your family until help is available.
9. Rotate your food stockpile regularly to keep food and supplies from expiring. You can’t just buy a bunch of food and stick it in the back of your pantry or closet. Having a rotation system for your food and other supplies is critical to making sure you won’t be left with spoiled food and expired medicine when a crisis hits.
10. Be cautious about sharing details of your preps with other people. Even the nicest of neighbors could become desperate enough to be violent if faced with the choice between their family starving or taking supplies they know you have.
A casual comment to the mailman, a cashier, or co-worker about how well you are prepared for the end of the world can come back to haunt you and make you a target when crisis happens.
10 Less Common Prepper Tips
11. Purchase a big bottle of iodine solution (5 to 10%), divide it up into smaller spray bottles to use in your first aid kit for your car, house, or any other locations.
You’ll have iodine for cleaning minor cuts and wounds as well as for purifying water in a crisis situation. This is a great inexpensive way to be prepared for life’s little emergencies while also preparing for a more widespread or extended event where you may need to purify water.
12. Buy extensions for the gutter down spout and collect water in 55 gallon barrels. If you start doing this now, before you need to rely on it, you’ll have mastered rainwater collection, and will have a significant stockpile of water if a SHTF event occurs. Even if you stockpile sufficient drinking water, your collected rainwater can be used for gardening, personal hygiene, and watering livestock.
13. Use gallon size ziploc bags to store extra rolls of toilet paper under the sink, in the garage, and in your car. You’ll have some toilet paper available as a backup if you run low in your home but you’ll also have TP in any emergency no matter where you end up taking shelter.
14. Include fishing snubbers in your fishing kit and in your car BOB. They can be used to add needed flexibility if you are forced to fish using a pole made of a branch or stick. The risk when using a stick for a fishing pole is that the weight of the fish will break the stick and allow the fish to get away. The snubber attached to the end of the pole provides some flexibility and increases the chance that you will catch dinner when you need to.
15. Learn to drive a stick shift vehicle. When SHTF, transportation is going to be at an all time demand. Your odds of getting away from danger and to a safer location may be greater if you have access to a vehicle.
According to U.S. News and World Report, the number of United States drivers that can drive a stick shift in some states is as low as just 18%! Many millenials may have never even seen a stick shift.
If you want to increase your odds of being able to find some kind of transportation when you need it, learn to drive a stick shift vehicle. Those people who can’t drive a stick shift will bypass those cars, trucks, and tractors, leaving them available for you.
This also means if you have a stick shift vehicle as your BOV, there will be a great number of people who won’t steal it, simply because they don’t know how to drive it!
16. Instead of adding to the landfill, save those old keys and turn them into arrowheads you can use for hunting when SHTF. You may not be able to get your hands on commercially manufactured arrows due to the disruption of shipping, transportation, other retail services.
With just a few tools purchased in advance, including a jeweler’s saw, jeweler’s bench pin, a double cut file and a couple C-clamps, your old unused keys can become arrowheads that will help you put food on your table after SHTF.
Even if your stockpile includes enough arrowheads for your own hunting needs, you can use this skill to provide a service to others who need to hunt and can’t get access to manufactured arrowheads.
17. Stash a bottle of baby oil in your prepping supplies or in your bug out bag to help prevent frostbite in cold weather. Hypothermia and frostbite can be a very real threat even in normal times.
In a SHTF situation, you may get caught in the cold without proper cold weather gear. When baby oil is applied to the face and exposed skin, it creates a barrier against the cold.
18. Need to carry several gallons of water at one time? Use a long branch or even an old hockey stick to help you carry several jugs of water in one trip. Simply slide the handles of the jobs over the stick.
Balance the weight by alternating the jugs. A full size hockey stick can hold six or seven gallon milk jugs of water easily. On even ground you should be able to slide the stick which will also save wear and tear on your back.
19. Make a bow from an old bicycle so you can put food on your table following a SHTF event. In an extended SHTF situation, your ability to make what you need from found materials could help you survive when others perish. This skill could also serve as a post-SHTF service you can provide to barter for other things you need to survive.
20. Make a mini battery using a lemon with a copper penny and galvanized nail. As you’ll see in the video, you can create enough electricity to power a small calculator:
It’s not a long term solution, but this trick could provide a small amount of power if you find yourself in a critical situation.
In the video below, multiple lemons were used to actually charge a cell phone, which could give just enough power for you to get out an emergency text message or call if cell networks are still working.
10 Tried & True Prepper Tips
21. Print out and protect valuable information. This includes not only identification documents such as birth certificates, social security cards, etc. but also important information about how to perform first aid techniques, serial numbers for possessions, maps of where to find shelter locations and sources of freshwater in your area, how to maintain or repair your car or RV, how to identify trees, wild edibles, medicinal plants, etc. All of this information is easily available online but it may not be if the internet and electronic equipment is malfunctioning.
22. Save your dryer lint to use for fire starting material. For even better results, dip in petroleum jelly and tuck into an empty toilet paper tube. Store in zip lock bags for always ready tinder in your BOB.
33. Perfect your everyday carry (EDC) kit so you will be prepared for little inconveniences or accidents as well as larger emergencies, no matter where you are.
34. “Two is one and one is none”. Make sure you have multiple methods for starting a fire, for purifying water, for building a shelter, etc. so that if your BOB or EDC is comprised in any way, you will still be prepared.
35. Use Altoid tins to organize mini kits to keep like supplies together. Create a fishing kit, sewing kit, individual first aid kit, personal hygiene kit, etc. Use mini kits as part of your EDC, in your BOB, or in your car to serve as a backup to your other supplies.
36. Keep a “go” bag or get home bag (GHB) nearby at all times. Store it under your bed at night in case of an emergency in the middle of the night. Make sure to add a spare pair of shoes, extra car and house keys, socks, at least 24 hours of personal medications, a change of clothes, tactical flashlight, emergency blanket, a spare cell phone, knife, and water.
37. Email copies of important documents to yourself and keep backup copies on a flash drive. If your home is destroyed due to fire, flood, etc. you can quickly access important account numbers from a friend’s computer, from work, or from the library.
38. Freeze a container of water and add a coin to the top. If you open the freezer and the coin is trapped within the ice, you know your power was off long enough to at least partially thaw food items.
39. Don’t keep all your preps in one place. This tip is one of the most tried and true. You may think your house is the safest place for your preps because you are there to guard them. But in truth there are so many things that can go wrong.
What happens if your house burns down while you are at work or on vacation? Keep your preps in multiple places including your home, car, work, your boat, a bug out retreat, hidden caches along your bug out route, etc. to help prevent losing everything at once.
40. Get physically fit now because your life may depend on it. Emergency situations can place a huge amount of physical and emotional stress on the body, no matter how prepared you are.
Not only must you be ready to physically travel on foot for long distances, you need to be fit enough to do other survival tasks too such as chopping firewood, hauling water, moving debris off a trapped family member, etc. The more physically fit you are, the better you can protect yourself and your family.
What are some of your tried and true methods for prepping? Are any of these prepper tips new for you? Is there an amazing, juicy prepper tip you know about that we didn’t include here?
A mother of four and grandmother of nine boys and one girl, Megan is living the lifestyle any prepper would want. Gardening, homesteading and constantly planning for emergencies big and small, she’s a beacon of knowledge in the prepping community.