Basic Prepping 101: What You Can Do Right Now
Basic Prepping 101: What You Can Do Right Now
This is a guest article submitted from a reader who we’ll call MarinePrepper. We agreed to publish it because it’s important that people understand that you don’t need a huge bank account to start preparing for the proverbial crap hitting the fan. You don’t need an underground bunker, you just need some creativity and the willingness to get it done. If you’ve found the idea of prepping to be overwhelming, check out these tips. You’ll see how easy it is to start.
One of the things I’ve realized is that as people “wake up” to the gravity of the situation in the U.S., they often find themselves so overwhelmed with the magnitude of the decline that when it comes to prepping they often can’t even start. They don’t know where to begin and think it’s too late, or they’re now in such a degraded economic condition that they believe they can’t afford to prep. Sadly, most of these people just don’t even bother.
I’ve got some good news for those people: it’s never too late. Prepping in even the smallest degree is better than nothing.
So, what do I mean by all of this? I have a gal friend, let’s call her Jane. Jane is a single gal, living in an apt in a fairly large metropolitan area. Because of her small living space and tight budget, prepping in any form has become so daunting that it’s become a non-starter for her. In my effort to get her started I’ve suggested that we begin prepping with things that are readily available or can be purchased for low cost when she’s out and about. Overall, this applies to anyone but for our purposes my aim is the individual apartment dweller that lives on a budget who wants to establish a Go Bag or Bug Out Bag. Not only is the Go Bag used as a mobile platform but if one finds that they have to shelter in place, it can be just as useful. This list is by no means extensive so feel free to add as you continue to prep.
Baggage, everyone has some-
Ladies you have somewhere in your closet or under your bed an old handbag. It’s probably some leather monster that was given to you as a gift that you smiled and gushed over in front of the gift giver but secretly you knew this obnoxious explosion of multicolored cowhide was destined to never to see the light of day. Go find this sturdy waste of Chinese labor, as it is now your Go Bag.
If you don’t have a rawhide Kangaroo pouch lying around, then trust me–you have an old backpack. It’s probably an old black bag that says PINK or Mickey Mouse Club House on it. Go find it.
H20 on the go-
You know how you try and impress your friends at work with your healthy lifestyle choices by purchasing expensive tap water marketed as Dasani or Fiji? Save those bottles. Refill them at home through your under sink RO filtration system and throw a few of these into your Go Bag. Additionally, when you finish your overpriced OJ or Apple Juice, save the containers. Give them a good cleaning, fill them with water and tuck them away in your pantry/closet and throw a few in the trunk of your car. This is the beginning of your emergency water stores. Always, always be storing water. This won’t just be critical for drinking but for cooking, wound cleaning and basic sanitation as well. And you read that correctly, keep some of the water in your car. When the balloon goes up, you don’t know where you’ll be. If you’re stuck in your car, you’ll at least have some water.
My little boys love apple juice and I usually buy it at Costco. I save all the bottles after they’re finished so now I have dozens of one gallon emergency jugs of water. What else are they good for? I plan on giving these to extended family members that I know are not prepping and I will not have to give away my families bulk water stores. Clean drinking water will be the difference between life and death for some.
Food for thought-
It’s understandable that for economic reasons or limited space that some of us can’t grow our own food or stock up on thousands of dollars worth of freeze dried foods. With this in mind, the next time you’re at the grocery store buy a few Cup of Noodles, canned food items with the pop top lids and single package energy/protein bars. Not only do these have a healthy shelf life but they can easily fit in your bag, are easy to transport and they require little to no prep before eating. Yes, normally the noodles require hot water but they can be eaten “as is” if necessary, like you did in college. The same goes for canned goods. If you continually purchase a few of these items every time you shop, you’ll eventually end up with a nice little stash in your pantry or cupboard for a low cost. One caution on the canned goods: if you chose to put these in your Go Bag, be conscience of the weight they’ll add. Same goes for water.
In your defense-
In your utensil drawer you probably have an awkwardly large kitchen knife that for some unknown reason, you’ve kept. I know you don’t use it for cutting food, as it’s probably most often used as a make shift screw driver or chisel. This pre-Rambo-esque knife is now your combat blade. I want to you get a thick piece of cardboard and form it as a sheath for the knife. Next, wrap the sheath in a few layers of duct tape while ensuring that the knife is secure yet easy to remove. Get a black marker and write “Sheath” on this layer. After the ink dries, wrap more duct tape around the sheath. How much? You’ll know but make sure some of the tape strips are long. In an emergency, you can peel this extra tape off for use in anything such as securing loose items, emergency wound stoppage, taping a hole in your Go Bag or securing your liberal neighbors mouth shut should you find yourself unfortunate enough to be stuck within ear shot of them when the grid goes down. And no, you will not use the knife on them. Shame on you.
Somewhere you have a little canister of pepper spray. You thought it was silly when your dad gave it to you because he found your last boyfriend so odd. Get the pepper spray and put it in the outer pocket of your bag. Make sure it’s within easy reach, just like your Rambo knife.
Inside your medical cabinet or under your bathroom sink you probably have some basic medications, aspirin/Ibuprofen, Tums/Rolaids, personal meds, that old Ace bandage that you haven’t used in years, band aids etc. Take a few of these meds/items and place them in separate zip lock bags ensuring that you mark each bag accordingly. Chuck these in your Go Bag and add to your medical pile when convenient.
Tampons are not only good for they’re intended purpose but when you combine them with your duct tape, you now have a field expedient bandage for stopping the blood flow of deep external wounds.
Most Rite-Aid type stores have a “travel” section that sell those small, single serving bottles of body lotion, shampoo/conditioner, tooth brush/paste, deodorant, individual razors/shave cream, cotton swabs and mouth wash. Purchase a few of these and throw them in your bag as well. Additionally, pick up a small bottle of isopropyl alcohol for immediate wound treatment. Make sure to secure any and all liquid items in zip lock bags in case of leakage.
You know when you’re checking out and they have those tiny, convenient bottles of hand sanitizer at the counter? Pick up a few of these for pocket change and throw them into your Go Bag. While you’re there, snag a few Five Hour energy drinks, nail clippers and lip balm as well.
Clothes at hand-
You have a drawer with clothes buried at the bottom that you tell yourself you’ll fit into one of these days when you find time to diet. Sure, sure you will. Gather that old set of clothes from your drawer or closet: wind breaker, jeans, shirt, socks, bra, panties/underwear, sweater, running shoes gloves etc. Bundle these items together and put them in your bag. They’ll fit, trust me. Shove the small items (socks, bra, underwear/panties, and gloves) into your running shoes. Lay out the jeans, wind breaker, shirt and sweater. Place the wind breaker, shirt and sweater neatly on the jeans. Place the shoes on top of the sweater and roll everything into a bundle. Secure with duct tape. Or just roll the jeans, jacket, shirt and sweater together and secure (you get the point). Finally, wrap all in a garbage bag. Not only will this keep your emergency clothes dry but you may be able to reuse the bag for storage or a make shift poncho if necessary.
Somewhere in the deep recesses of your closet you have an old shirt or two from the boyfriend that got away or so you told your parents. Remember him? You should because from time to time you pull out his flannels and smell them for old time’s sake. Oh, now you remember? Get these shirts and wash them. Once they’re nice and clean cut them into one or two inch strips that are anywhere from a foot to twenty four inches in length. Place these in a zip lock bag and use these in a pinch as field expedient bandages. They can be used as basic ties as well and easily fit into your bag.
Along this line, I want you start collecting the lint from your dryer. Yes, the lint from your dryer. Place it in a zip lock bag along with a cheap but working lighter or some strike anywhere matches (ideally you have both). You now have a basic fire starter should you need it. Plus, you can always burn some of those shirt strips from the guy who dumped you. Yes, we know he dumped you and we sympathize.
Junk in the trunk-
You have a junk drawer. You throw all kinds of weird odds and ends in there and most of the time if you’re like my wife you don’t know why, you just collect. Today is the day those items come in handy. Those odd little bottles or packets of ketchup, mustard, honey and jelly that your boyfriend found so odd? Gather them up into a zip lock and put them in your bag. Those rubber bands, bread bag twist ties and four miles of string you’ve collected? Put those in your bag. That extra cell phone charger? In your bag. That 1970’s era camping flashlight in the very back of the drawer? Grab it, the batteries and put them in your bag. Anything that may be of use put in the bag: old candles, playing cards, book of matches, Scotch tape, screwdriver, a map of the area etc. That 25% off coupon for Jo-Ann fabrics? Well you should have used that, so I can’t really help you there but it might be good as a fire starter now.
Overall, ensure that your bag is stocked with necessary items and is both well balanced and easily portable by you. Meaning, test it out. Walk with it. Is it top heavy? Do the straps need to be modified because they cut into your shoulders? Is there something poking through? Do you need a bigger bag? Do you need to strengthen your legs to carry the weight? Do what you need to but stay on the ball and continue to prep.
What I’ve pointed out are basic ideas that are low to no cost, and you should always be thinking about what you can add. Just look around your home. It sounds a bit paranoid but prepping really never stops. After all, this is your life we’re talking about. So how you chose to survive ultimately comes down to how you’ve prepared, your mentality and your adaptability to the coming crises.
Moral of the story is that you have to begin now, in whatever way. You keep telling yourself that one of these you’ll start prepping. But what you’re failing to realize is that one of these days will be THAT day.
Note: For more information on why you need to do this, check out SHTF School. This site is written by someone who lived in a city of 6000 in Bosnia for a year with no power, water, garbage, or other services. It was feral chaos. Read his experience and understand that it can happen here in the event of a natural disaster or a government-made one.