There are many reasons why people choose to take emergency preparedness seriously. The term “prepper” is used as a blanket term, but there are countless approaches and philosophies that fuel preparedness enthusiasts. For some, it may be mistrust of government or societal stability. For others, it is simply an insistence on protecting your family regardless of what happens.
Regardless of the motivation, the wonderful thing about prepping is that the skills, knowledge, and supplies are invaluable in daily life as well as disaster scenarios. Despite what many guides will tell you, getting started with prepping doesn’t need to be expensive, burdensome, or complicated. Rather, prepping for beginners is simply acquiring meaningful life skills. We’ve compiled the preppers guide for sensible survival. Here’s what you need to be prepared.
Learn First Aid
A first aid kid is bound to be on any beginners prepping list. Yet, too much emphasis is often placed on the “what”, thereby disregarding the “how.” We have certainly covered first aid kits, and there are unquestionably aspects that make some options better than others. However, the most important thing to have in a first-aid situation is knowledge.
Learning the basics of first aid can be a surprisingly simple task, but it can save a life when the moment comes. There are countless first aid guides available, and having one for reference is a fantastic idea. That said, you should always take the time to read it in advance. An emergency is not the time to be thumbing through a pamphlet trying to grasp the basics.
While you should always have a first aid guide within your supplies, we also strongly recommend taking a class. Basic first-aid classes are available in almost every town and are typically either very affordable or free. In only a few hours you will be instructed on the basics of CPR, wound dressing, trauma care, and countless other vital skills. It’s a Saturday afternoon well spent.
Learn to Garden
Our mental image of “prepping” situations is often fueled by Hollywood dramas. When the moment comes, the world will surely be billowing smoke as we walk through a desolate wasteland, right? Probably not. Most probable situations that call for preparedness will likely be fueled by either economic catastrophe or a failed infrastructure. In either case, the sun will still be shining, but the lights at the grocery store may not.
Learning to garden is a fantastic way to protect yourself and your family from the food instability that a disaster can bring. Freeze-dried or shelf-stable food is great, but being able to grow your own food provides an infinitely sustainable solution. The basics of gardening are easy to learn, and seed packets can be stored for decades without losing their ability to germinate.
Beyond mere food production, gardening is a wonderful source of peace and joy. One of my favorite moments of the day is to pour a warm cup of coffee in the morning and walk to my garden to see what new peppers or tomatoes have appeared. At best, gardening will allow you to feed your family self-reliantly. At worst, you’ll still end up with a lovely salad.
Sensible Survival Includes Knowing Your Community
I am sure this recommendation may have solicited a few scoffs from our readers. After all, a disaster means every man for himself, right? An economic collapse is hardly the time for a church bake sale! Well, no. If a disaster were to strike, knowing your neighbors may end up being the single most important factor in your survival.
Everyone in a community will inevitably have different skills, supplies, and resources. If the world as we know it ceases to exist, the doctor down the street may become your source of medical care. The farmer you chat with at the cafe can become your source of fresh food. The mechanic who you tipped a few extra dollars for fixing your car may be willing to keep your generator running in the darkest times. This is a factor so often missing from any prepper guide: community.
Beyond simple resources and skills, becoming an integral part of your community is a fantastic boost to mental health. Humans are naturally social animals, and being part of a large pack is a key factor in both surviving and thriving. Whether you’ve recently moved or you have been in the same town for decades, make a point of learning those around you. Join a local preparedness club or attend a town hall meeting. Your acquaintances today can become your saviors tomorrow.
Learn the Basics of DIY
Learning first aid is important for maintaining your body, but learning some DIY skills is equally important for maintaining your gear. If the moment were to come where we needed to become self-sustaining, simply replacing our equipment may not be an option. Having a generator is great, but what if it breaks? A water purification system is a great resource, but do you know how to maintain it? Your car may be reliable, but can you keep it that way? Learning some basic mechanical, electrical, and carpentry skills doesn’t just save you money – it may save your life in the right scenario.
Of course, this is a broad category and you can’t be expected to learn the mechanics of everything overnight. However, there are countless resources available for you to slowly develop skills. Grab a shop manual for your vehicle and try your hand at a brake job. Take the time to learn how to fix the roof on that leaky shed. Take apart your dryer when it stops working rather than just replacing it. Once you have a few repairs under your belt, you will quickly learn the empowering feeling of fixing something with your hands rather than your checkbook.
Learn to Cook
We never have the luxury of knowing how long a catastrophe will endure. If you need to survive for a week, then your stash of pre-packaged camping meals will serve you fine. Yet, months into a survival situation, you are going to need to learn to cook for yourself. As with everything else on this list, cooking is not just a survival skill. Rather, it is a wonderful life skill that provides satisfaction, joy, and saves you money. What’s not to love?
In my family, we add a fun “prepper basics” spin to the art of cooking. Once or twice a week, we’ll have “disaster dinner.” This sounds bleak, but it has actually become a game we all look forward to. On these nights, we challenge ourselves to make dinner using a new set of limitations. One night it may be using only freeze-dried supplies. Another night we might try to make a meal using only items grown in our garden. Sometimes, we’ll cook without any electricity or running water. By normalizing these challenges, you develop the skills to perform when you need it most.
Prepping for beginners guides are often filled with doom-and-gloom warnings and images, and that’s a shame. A beginner prepper checklist does not need to be tinged with apocalypse-fueled fear. Rather, prepping basics can be interchangeable with life basics. Hopefully, this list has taught you that you can easily integrate a beginners guide to prepping into your daily life, making it a fun and rewarding experience. Being prepared doesn’t mean being scared. Some skills are great even if you are never forced to use them.