About a month after I left meetup 2.0 at Pizza Hut, former attendee Garland Fitzhugh called to tell me it’s become more of an ‘eat-up’ than a prepper meetup—fair, considering there’s been no local calamity to keep the survivalist group on its toes. Allen emails meeting suggestions to a prepper listserv, asking them to focus on prepping situations they can actually influence. He may as well type in Wingdings. A former Navy technician, Allen spent most of the meeting on his phone; his ears only perk up when Andrew: says something about naval intelligence that piques his interest. “I try not to do that too much,” he tells me later. 
"Prepping," or getting ready to live without societal support, is apparently a largely American activity, and a recent one. Companies that cater to people who want to be self-reliant for food, water, and power have grown their revenue by about 700 percent over the last decade, and prepper products are now offered in places like Costco, Kmart, and Bed Bath & Beyond.

There was a time when I was a prepping newbie and even now, seven plus years later, I have more to do and more to learn.  In my heart of hearts, however, I still feel like a beginner and so I empathize with those that are just getting started.  They may be moms and dads, seniors like myself, or enlightened millennials. That said, these days I feel fortunate that I have come so far with my prepping activities.  Moving beyond obsession, the prepping way of life is now a part of my core.  It is “what I do” as well as being a hobby and a passion.
The #1 thing you.ve missed is to not store everything in the same place even if you are ‘bugging in’. I lost my home & all it’s contents to a fire on Christmas Day. All my dehydrated (by me plus bought stuff) jars & cans are gone, along with stuff I’d been saving…dog food, bleach, baking soda etc. Luckily I’d stored a little bit in the {untouched} detached garage. I mean a wind storm or flood could cause the same devastation. Just wanted to add that because it’s not something you think about. I know I didn’t til it happened.
For Erica Nygaard, an Iowa-based mother of four who started storing and growing her own food after a divorce 11 years ago, the desire to prepare for the future stems directly from the vulnerability one can feel as a single mom. “When you become a single parent, that weight really hits you: I am completely responsible [for my children,] no matter what. No matter what happens, these four people have to be taken care of.”
You need two gallons of water per person per day. This is actually higher than is strictly necessary but you will be very unhappy if you ever have to restrict yourself to this amount. I store enough water for everyone in my household for a bit more than two weeks. Get a WaterBOB because it is so inexpensive and easy. Once you have those basic levels you then have to have a means to filter more water for your use. I highly recommend getting at least two Sawyer Squeeze and consider getting something like a Big Berkey. Find a way of collecting rainwater if you can. If you live in a desert, unfortunately you're going to have to find a way to store a lot of water.
If I’m bugging out, I want a lightweight stove such as an Esbit, alcohol or fuel tab is adequate to boil water, not a large wood burner stove as I don’t need the extra weight in my BOB or GHB. JIf really needed I can build a rocket stove using empty cans and a metal hole punch or my leatherman tool. If I’m bugging in I have a BBQ or two I can use with charcoal, or wood.

When I asked about some of those I had met along the way — say, the geared-up 12-year-old, Leonardo Ruiz Jr., who, dropping his suspicions, later gave his name to a photographer — he gave a forbearing smile. “There’s a spectrum,” Dr. Redlener said. “On one end is mindless complacency. On the other is paranoia. The challenge is to find that place in the middle where you understand that bad things can happen, but it doesn’t consume your life.”
If the day of reckoning stretches on beyond a few months, however, the ability to grow one's own food will become paramount. Seeds and gardening tools, therefore, should be on everyone's doomsday supply list. Opt for so-called heirloom seeds. These seeds yield disease-resistant crops that produce yet more seeds season after season, unlike hybrid seeds used for mass-cultivated, commercial crops, which can develop into sterile plants.
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