Becoming A Prepper – Take On A Preparedness Mindset
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Becoming A Prepper – Take On A Preparedness Mindset

Reading Time: 10 minutes

Becoming A Prepper is dedicated to those that struggled during the coronavirus outbreak from lack of food and supplies. Becoming a prepper may be on their minds.

I offer some simple advice, a few resources and some basic guidance to becoming a prepper.

Even when we were just days into this coronavirus crises we watched tens of thousands of people in the US begin to realize they had a problem. They weren’t prepared for anything close to a job loss or quarantine.

While even the best preppers feel the anxiety and pressure of what we’re all facing together, we at least know that our families will be taken care of when it comes to food and supplies.

Current US Coronavirus Stats
As of Sunday morning, March 22, 2020

In the US, we’re still in the early stages of this global pandemic and we already have close to 27K confirmed cases and 183 deaths (At the time of this post) from COVID19. This is a scary place to be and everyone’s feeling the stress.

Don’t Get Caught Unprepared Next Time

While it is all but too late to begin stocking up for this crisis (Preppers call this a SHTF event), there will be other tragedies to overcome. It may be another widespread event like we’re dealing with right now or it might be a personal situation like a job loss or tragic sickness. No matter the situation, not having the food and supplies to carry you through just adds another layer of stress.

Preppers ARE NOT The Reason The Store Shelves Are Empty

I have seen a few, thankfully just a few, social media posts blaming preppers for the shortages. This is absolutely not the case.

In fact, I’d have to say preppers and other prepared people (I’m using prepper as a generic term, not everyone identifies as such) are helping our communities all across the United States.

Even if they’re not donating food and supplies, which many are, just by staying away from the stores and leaving the food on the shelves is a big help in itself.

You see, as a prepper myself, our family will be fine when it comes to food, supplies and even PPE (Personal Protection Equipment such as masks, gloves, disinfecting cleaners and hand sanitizer).

We already have those supplies as well as food. Quite honestly, we could survive for months. I’m not bragging, I just want you to understand that we ARE NOT hitting stores to hoard the things so many people need right now.

Prepping Is Not Hoarding

Preppers accumulate their supplies over time – not in the middle of a crisis. We buy when supplies are plentiful, usually when on sale.

Hoarders are those filling their shopping carts with more than they need with critical supplies that others desperately need.

Preppers are helping other family members and, if in the position, even the community. For example, I happen to have hundreds of surgical masks I purchased in bulk. While not as effective as N-95 masks, I assume hospitals and clinics can find a use for these. Tomorrow morning I will be donating those masks to a local clinic in town. If they don’t need them, I’ll take them to our hospital.

Hoarders are thinking of themselves and hurting others by leaving shelves empty. Preppers are taking the pressure off the system, not applying it.

I Am Not Having The Last Laugh

Honestly, I have seen a couple of people in our community saying just that but most of us just want others to prepare in the future and are willing to help. I am here to help. I care. I feel for those dealing with this tragedy amplified by wanting.

I have had friends and family members say things like, “You were right” or “I guess you knew what you were talking about“. I absolutely am not having the last laugh. I am hurting inside watching so many people going without. At the same time, my heart fills with pride when I see the generosity and caring for those in need by complete strangers – often from others hurting themselves.

Here’s a recent Facebook post my oldest daughter posted. She’s a sweetheart.

My Daughter's Facebook Post
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This Facebook post by my daughter warmed my heart.

Are You Ready To Become A Prepper?

I hope so. There are so many people willing to help. Including me. I want more people to lead a prepared lifestyle. The more of us out there, the more help we can offer. Below I’ll try to help you start becoming more prepared.

Becoming A Prepper Does Not Solve Everything

I’ll be the first to admit, this has been one of the most stressful times of my life. Having the “stuff” does not keep us safe from the potential infection. It does reduce some of the stress, as well as exposure but the threat is still there.

Honestly, I cannot imagine how bad things are for those that don’t have food for tomorrow or hand sanitizer and cleaners to protect their families. It has to be awful not knowing when they will receive another check because their employer had to close the doors or they were forced to quarantine in place. My wife temporarily left her high exposure job last week so we will be feeling that crunch shortly but we’ll be okay.

You Can Not Join Us – Preppers Are Not A cult

While preppers are somewhat of a community, we are not a group or cult. It is a very diverse community. Very few preppers are like those “doomsday preppers” you might see on TV. In fact, I don’t know any doomsday preppers. I don’t know anyone with a bunker or tank. Most of that is simply nutjobs and sensationalism. Please ignore that nonsense.

The preppers I know prep for things exactly like we’re living through right now with the coronavirus. Many live in high-risk areas that deal with hurricanes, earthquakes or flooding. Others live on large properties away from the city running farms, ranches or homesteads. Others understand living check to check with no safety net in the form of cash and supplies is a dangerous game.

You have to decide for yourself why you need to prepare and for what. Ultimately it is about becoming more self-reliant. We see just how stretched the authorities are in a crisis and they simply can’t help everyone in a meaningful way. We don’t want to fall victim to the system and we don’t have to.

When To Start Prepping

I implore you to take steps in the future for the next crises you have to face. By “future” I mean when the threat of the coronavirus is behind us because anyone just starting out needs to concentrate on surviving the now. Stocking up on supplies right now isn’t fair to everyone else.

You can begin to plan and strategize, however. You can commit to never being left out in the cold again by prepping for any future emergency.

Once things get back to normal, take slow but steady action and begin preparing. Don’t become obsessed. Don’t get crazy. You’ll be alright. My survival blog is called “Next Step Survival” for a reason. Otherwise, it gets overwhelming very quickly.

Where To Start When It Comes To Becoming A Prepper

Some “preppers” would have you buying up as many guns and ammo as possible. Others would tell you to find a bugout location before you bother with anything else. Thankfully, most preppers aren’t that extreme.

Personally, I recommend that you begin gradually and focus on a goal that you customize for yourself.

Unfortunately, you will already have the coronavirus experience to help guide you. I stay pretty prepared but we still found a few holes in our preps. Those gaps in my preps are what I will focus on next. We may as well make this a learning experience.

If you found yourself one of those needing TP, sanitizer, etc., start there. I don’t mean go out and spend a paycheck on toilet paper the week we get back to normal. And I certainly don’t recommend using a credit card or taking on a loan.

Buy a little extra each time you shop when you can afford it. There’s no point in prepping if you’re going to put yourself into a personal crisis that rivals what you are trying to avoid.

Take advantage of the sales. I love that we can save money prepping. We have a family of seven in this house and we’ve been living on our preps for a couple of weeks now. It’s a nice feeling to know we paid less for almost everything we’re consuming than it would cost right now in the stores. I’m not even talking about price gouging, I mean we buy what is on sale whenever we can.

Your preps should be based on what you and your family actually use. One of the most common phrases among preppers is,

“Store what you eat, Eat what you store”

I’d change that to “Store what you use, use what you store” but that doesn’t sound as good. πŸ˜‰ Only because, as we are witnessing right now, food is not the only thing we want in our preps.

The idea here is to have a backup supply of the very things you rely on day-to-day. If you eat Keto or Paleo and have never cooked rice before, as an example, you probably shouldn’t go out and buy a hundred pounds of rice. At least not at first, unless that makes you feel better.

Start with things that have a relatively long shelf life. Then rotate that stock as you go. Eat a can of corn from your pantry, replace it with a new can when you go shopping and place the new can behind the older ones.

Later you can learn new ways of preserving and storing food but if you’re just starting out, I’d focus on food that is ready to store as purchased.

Water: Don’t forget water. I know you have water coming from your tap right now but what if your next SHTF situation is along the lines of what happened in Flint, Michigan. Just an hour north of me, by the way. They found lead in their water and suddenly it was no longer safe to drink. That went on for a very long time.

Start with decent containers like juice or pop (soda if you’re to my south) bottles. Plastic milk bottles are too weak. Wash and rinse the plastic containers out thoroughly, fill with clean water from your tap, and start storing them for an emergency.

No room? Is there space under your beds? The floor of a closet? Some creative preppers have stacked them up a few feet high and put a plank of wood over it to make a table. Add a throw cloth and problem solved.

What items do you need? Use this rotation system for everything you rely on: medicines, sanitary items, toiletries, cleaning supplies, anything you wouldn’t want to go without if you couldn’t go to the store for an extended period of time.

I recommend you begin with a week’s supply and move up to a month from there. By the time you’re ready to start prepping beyond that, you’ll have a handle on what is needed for you and your family.

Most of us cannot afford to go out and buy thousands of dollars on survival buckets and even if you can, there’s a chance you will buy the wrong things at first.

Survival Gear? For anyone interested in becoming a prepper, and this is going to cause some preppers to ask me if I’m out of my mind, I recommend you stay away from most of the gear available. At least in the beginning.

A couple of exceptions on buying gear might be a reliable water filter and a decent bag in case you have to evacuate your home. Yes, we like to call that a bug-out bag or go-bag but feel free to call it whatever you like.

Just don’t go crazy outfitting your “evacuation bag” until you’ve had time to understand the things you might need. Becoming a prepper doesn’t mean you have to go out and buy that latest tacti-cool sling-bag that just became available. Or maybe you do – only you can decide. Honestly, you probably already have most of the items. Keep in mind, everyone’s requirements are different.

A Note Of Caution

Before I get into recommended resources I want to offer a note of caution. It is very easy to become overwhelmed when it comes to prepping. At least in the beginning.

I’ll be the first to admit, some websites and channels are trying to get as much money as they can from you. Those people are in every walk of life. In saying that, I do want to stress that just because you see a product recommendation, affiliate link or advertising does not automatically put them in the “out to get your money” camp. I offer affiliate links and reviews on my websites as well but I never recommend a product that I don’t personally own or use. I also don’t try to convince or influence anyone into a product they don’t want or need.

Be careful on social media, especially YouTube. There are so many people pulling you in every direction and leading you toward different goals that you can waste a ton of time and money. In fact, I wrote an entire post on things I bought that I shouldn’t have on the advice of many YouTube videos.

Resources For Becoming A Prepper

There are so many great websites, channels and podcasts that I cannot begin to list them. I will, however, offer two recommendations to get you started. I believe these two people are the best place to start due to their common sense approach and real-life experience.

No, I’m not one of them. I am, but the two preppers I’m going to recommend are light years ahead of me.

My first recommendation is Jack Spirko with The Survival Podcast. The Survival Podcast is a modern-day survival website along with a five day a week podcast. Jack is the number one authority when it comes to common sense prepping and modern survival as far as I’m concerned.

My second recommendation is Todd Sepulveda with The Prepper Website. Todd has the largest directory of prepper websites and resources there is. The directory is updated daily as well. Just be careful, again, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Todd also has a podcast, The Prepper Website Podcast, that offers common-sense content, usually by other preppers within our community.

I do have a list of podcasts I was listening to but some of those podcasts have either disappeared or rarely post. Podcasting can be a demanding activity and life just gets in the way for many of us.

I’ll pick back up on this topic of becoming a prepper in a later article, I’ve already gone way beyond what I’d consider a “readable” post for most people. I’m even thinking of making it one of our main categories.

I hope this helped and feel free to visit and/or follow anytime. You are always welcome here.

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Brian Hawkins

Father, grandfather, Veteran, animal lover, law-abiding taxpayer, homeowner, trucker, and a United States Citizen. Oh, and I'm also a prepper, survivalist, responsible gun owner, and hiker.

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