So it’s time. You’re convinced. You know you need to prep…but where do you start? Beginning prepping is like a train. It’s har to get started but once it’s rolling it’s hard to quit! Everyone succesful at prepping has started from somewhere, and that somewhere is usually a bug out bag or maybe a victory garden. For most taking care of your basics is the best place to start, but before you can understand what bacis you will need you should consider the following.
How Long And What For
How long you prep for obviously affects what you stock, and how much of it you stock. So does your reason for prepping. Those getting ready for a economical collapse would have little use for a Faraday Cage, for example. Nor would prepping for a long term senerio with only a weeks worth of water do you much good.
All the things you could possibly prep for is so varied that it’s impossible to cover them all in this article. If you have a particular scenario in mind I recommend you read more about what others are doing to prepare for it and add the extra things you may need to a basic starter plan.
Thankfully determining how long you sould prepare is much easier (sorta). There are a lot of guidelines and well laid out plans for each timeframe. Here are the most popular ones.
72 hours – This is the start for most. Your best bet for any 72 hour event is a Bug Out Bag. Most start here and expand as needed.
2 weeks – At this point you basically want to make sure you have enough water and food to last over and above the contents of your BOB. Most natural disasters fall into this catagory.
1 month – Again, this is mostly more water and food over and above a BOB, but you should also include a way to Cook Your Food and Heat Your Home without power. Get foods that can be easily prepared with very little clean up.
6 months – Now you are into long-term preps. You will want to Build A Stockpile of food as well as Have Enough Water on hand for everyone. Also consider Becoming More Self-Sufficient in case whatever event you are planning for last longer than expected.
1+ years – This is when your best bet is to become self-sufficient and start a homestead. You can stock up on a year’s supply of food, and if you can’t buy any land or live you in a city then this is still your best bet…although I highly recommend you get out of any populated area quickly and Get To Your Bug-Out Location.
If you think you may go a 6 months or more in any sort of SHTF scenario you should sit down and consider all that is required to live a daily life, and the amazing amount of stuff you would need. It would be almost impossible for a single person to do it all. Consider talking to your friends about it and see if you can build a comunity of preppers who can rely on each other in dire times.
This is Part 1 of a Multi-Part Article. Stay Tuned for Part 2. I will link it here when it’s complete.
In part 2 we’ll cover one of the best places to start prepping – Food.
I’ve often found that no matter how well you try to prepare there will always be something you wished you had once it’s too late. Here’s a list of my top 10 most forgotten preps. While some of these may seem a little obscure, in all reality every item here would be quite useful in the right circumstance.
1. Dental floss: Dental floss is strong, tough, and makes great cordage, plus it’s important to keep your teeth and gums as healthy as possible especially when you may no longer have access to a dentist. Remember, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
2. Batteries: What are you going to resort to when the batteries die in your flashlight or your handheld radio? You will want to have a supply of back-up batteries in your 72 hour kit to be sure you can keep your most useful electronic gadgets, survival tools and digital optics up and running.
3. Tarpaulin: One of the most sought after item that was in very short supply during the Haitian earthquake was a basic polymer tarp. A tarp is shelter from both the sun and precipitation, and can be utilized as a tool to catch rain water for consumption. They can also be used to cover a hole in a roof or as a makeshift fix for a broken window. With the widespread destruction that occurred in Haiti, these quickly became a form of emergency currency and were extremely hard to come by.
4. Pain Reliever: There is truly one thing worse than dealing with a disaster situation, and that is dealing with it while enduring the effects of a screaming head or back ache. Be sure to pack some of your favorite over-the-counter pain medication.
5. Underwear: Pack a few extra pair of clean underwear for each family member in a plastic press-and-seal bag and drop it into your 72 hour kit. When you find yourself separated from your bedroom closet for whatever reason, at some point, you are likely going to be very glad you had access to one or more pair of clean and dry underwear.
6. Toilet paper: Sure, you can just use leaves, but even a partial roll of TP is very light to carry, takes up little space even in a press-and-seal plastic bag, and it sure beats old dirty leaves.
7. Pen & Paper: This is an all too often forgotten addition to your 72 hour kit. You never know when you will need to jot down an address, phone number, a list of instructions, or who knows what else. Be sure you have your paper packed into something waterproof and the pen you choose is reliable.
8. Local maps: Fancy GPS devices are all the rage, but what if the unit becomes damaged, or the batteries die and you forgot to back extra (see above)? It’s wise to have a few maps of the local area packed into your 72 hour kit so you can navigate the land around you in old-school style. Also, it’s of great importance you know how to read a map and correctly navigate using a map and compass. To learn more about this particular skill set, you can read and study U.S. Army Field Manual 3-25.26 – Map Reading and Land Navigation.
9. Antiperspirant: It’s not just for arm pit stink; another handy use for antiperspirant is to help prevent your feet from becoming overly damp with perspiration. Simply covering your feet in product will help to keep your socks dry even in heavy boots.
10. Razor: Body and facial hair allow bacteria and resulting odors to stay on your person. Generally, the more effort you put into keeping yourself neat and clean, the less chances you have to acquire bacteria related skin conditions and to carry and transmit parasites.
Mouse traps are one of the most overlooked but essential survival tools. Maybe it’s so overlooked because no one really wants to think about eating a rat. The truth is in SHTF anything goes, and a rat trap (homemade or store bought) can be used to catch alot more than common mice. Depending on the bait you use you can catch snakes, rabbits, squirrels, opossums, armadillos, racoons, and even birds. Mouse traps are also vitally important for keeping your food stores clean and rodent free. If you don’t want to eat them at least use them for bait for bigger animals.
The easiest way is to buy a couple of the large Wooden Rat Snap Traps from amazon or home depot. To give yourself the most variety of meat make sure you buy the large traps and not the small ones made for mice only. Drill a hole in one corner large enough to run about a 10′ section of Paracord through and tie it up. Secure the other end of the paracord to a tree or post, apply a small dab of bait on the trap, camouflage it the best you can, and set it. A trap like this will work for you while you do something else, like tend your fire or collect water.
Different types of animals like different types of baits. The best all around bait is peanut butter. You can catch mice, rats, squirrels, raccoons, opossums, and armadillos with peanut butter. A small piece of meat or fish will also work wonders for opossum, racoons, and armadillo’s and even turtles. Some grass, seeds and berries will attract rabbits and birds. Snakes are a bit finicky but can be caught. If you hate the thought of eating a mouse then try catching one and setting it as bait for another animal such as a snake or coon.
A note on eating armadillo meat. They have been shown to spread leprosy to humans so eat with caution. The armadillo may have no outward signs of leprosy and still spread it to humans. The same can be said for eating racoon meat. They are know carriers of rabies so you have to be careful and make sure you cook your meat thoroughly. I would not eat an armadillo or racoon unless I had no choice. But if it’s either eat or starve then you’re better off taking your chances and eating the dang thing.
No Traps? No Problem!
If you don’t have a mouse trap then you can improvise. All you can really catch are mice but it’s very simple to build. All you need is a 5 gallon bucket, a piece of wood to act as a ramp (optionally you can bury the bucket flush with the ground), some peanut butter, a 1 liter bottle or aluminum can, and some wire.
Run a legnth of wire through an aluminum can and attach each end of the wire to the top of the bucket. Smear peanut butter on the can and fill the bucket with about 3-4″ of water. Then either bury the bucket flush with the ground or prop a piece of wood against the bucket to act as a ramp for the mice. The mice will come in to get the peanut butter then fall in the water and drown. It’s simple and very effective.
You can catch one to two mice a day with such a trap if you set it up in the right place. Around food stores, in attics, and around grassy fields are great places.
Don’t Take My Word For It
Here’s a great video from Dave Canterbury of http://www.wildernessoutfittersarchery.com (you probably also know him from the hit show Dual Survival) explaining how he always carries two large mouse traps with him, or as he likes to call them “common man traps”.
The Small Common Man Trapping Kit
For those new to survival all the acronyms can be hard to wade through so I thought I would post a short list of common acronyms that you find on many popular survival related sites, including this one. Let’s get started!
BOB: Bug Out Bag. Your main survival kit. There should be enough supplies to last 3 days, or 72 hours, whichever comes first .
GHB: Get Home Bag. A small kit designed to get you home, back to your BOB. This should include minimal supplies, it’s only use is to give you just enough survival items to enable you to make it back to your longer term preps, roughly 12-24 hours worth. It may go hand in hand with your EDC.
INCH: I’m Never Coming Home kit. This is it, the BIG one, the big daddy kit. Most INCH kits include a little bit of everything. This kit is designed to enable you to start life over at your BOL (or elsewhere) should you have to evac and never look back. You must give consideration to the weight of your INCH kit, since most likely it will be everything you have, and you may have to carry it several miles.
BOV: Bug Out Vehicle. Your method of transportation for bugging out, usually from home to your BOL or maybe to the ends of the earth. No minivans allowed.
BOL: Bug Out Location. Your main survival location. This is where you go when your home is no longer safe and must be evacuated. Plans must also be made in case your primary BOL is inaccessible or becomes compromised. Having a backup BOL and even a third is a smart idea indeed!