Prepping for Non-Preppers 101

Prepping for Non-Preppers 101

Let me present you the first guest post on this blog. I follow many blogs (not enough but still more than I should) but only a handful of them rise above the others because of the character, personality and/or writing style of the author.

This first guest post was written by one of those three bloggers whom I adore because of their interesting writing style and special way of thinking about the things of this crazy world.

If you still did not find out who is that let me help you a little bit more. He is an ex(?) rebel, an ex-soldier and a man of the law. If that would not be enough to see that he is a real badass I let you know that he is a prepper also, and boy, not a noob in the topic at all. There were some things picking my brain ever since I have read about prepping on his blog, so I reached out to him to share some of his wisdom with us.

If there ever will be a zombie apocalypse I pray to God to have this guy on my side! 🙂

So, OthalaFehu, my friend the stage is yours.

I get it, not everyone is into being a Prepper.

Prepping 101 - Lady

It’s not for everyone, but everyone should be up for a little prepping. My friend over at [HCF] asked me to do a piece on the art/science/and math behind prepping.

I decided to do it on a sliding scale going from basic household all the way to ‘that guy in the bunker’. Prepping is just another form of insurance. You may do all of this for nothing, but if you do need it, it will be the best money you have ever spent.

If you are into FIRE you are financially responsible, prudent, and thinking about the big picture. FIRE is to your finances as PREPPING is to your logistics. It is an organized way to prepare for a chaotic world.

“Chance favors the prepared mind.” – Louis Pasteur

PREPPING can be broken down into the fundamental categories of needs during an emergency, especially an emergency that is not over quickly. Food, Water, Shelter, First Aid, Security, Light/Power, Communication, and Information.

The time, energy, and money one want to put into prepping can be bottomless. So I have broken down each category into 3 degrees of prep; Basic, Moderate, and Serious. Stay tuned for the Extreme, and the ‘All the way down the rabbit hole‘ parts, if there is enough interest 🙂

Let’s start with Water.

You can only go 3 days without water before you are done for and clean water may be a problem during an emergency.

Prepping 101 - WaterBob

Basic – Buy a WaterBob – This product can be had for $30.00. It is essentially a big plastic bag that is roughly tub-shaped, you put it in your tub, fill it up and presto 100 gallons of water good for at least 16 weeks. Also a gallon of bleach. A tablespoon of bleach per gallon to make the water safe to drink.

Moderate – Buy a blue barrel. There are food grade 55-gallon barrels complete with lid, spout, and bung wrench to open. All in about $80.00. A little sturdier and a little more permanent. For sterilizing, buy some iodine tablets($5-10).

Serious – At this level, you probably have a rain catch system on your house that constantly collects rainwater in outside barrels. You probably also have a fairly industrial filter for making questionable water potable, costs are adding up.

Next up is Food.

The good news is that you need to store this anyway, so you just have to nip and tuck your current status.

Basic – Here is a short list of food stuffs you can buy that never go bad, ever; Honey, Rice(just not brown rice), White Vinegar, Vanilla extract, Salt, Cornstarch, Sugar, Dried Beans, Maple Syrup, and Hard Liquor. No reason not to have them, just in case.

Prepping 101 - Food

You can always buy basic foods, like canned foods, in larger quantities. Just keep in mind to rotate them so that they are not outliving their welcome. You will eventually eat all of those green beans.

Moderate – Next up is the stuff you don’t exactly put out for guests. By this, I mean freeze-dried foods and MRE (Meal Ready to Eat). Moderate cost, long shelf life 10-25 years depending on the type. Great for camping and a sense of ease late at night trying to go to bed after watching the news, yikes. The emergency food market has really taken off in recent years and the food is not that bad.

Serious – Mason jars and the art of canning your own food. Gardening as a hobby for serenity and fresh produce. A brief foray into the world of chicken husbandry.

Shelter comes next.

Basic – Your house is your castle. No reason to not make sure the castle is stocked. A days worth of snacks/water/emergency supplies in the trunk of your car never hurt either. Go buy a tent($40), a large basic tarp, and a good length of rope to keep in the garage for the outdoors.

Moderate – I could rewrite the HOW & WHY of a panic room in your house, but I already did, read about it here.

Serious – When you reach this stage, you are talking about a secondary location that is not your house. A Bug Out location. That hunting cabin maybe, or somebody else’s place that you are on good terms with. There should be a Plan B before there is ever a need for a Plan B.

A strong Defense equals security.

Basic – 2 firearms, even if you never intend to use them. A shotgun for home defense($250-400). Pump action Mossberg 500 or Remington 870 are the most popular. Second is a .22 caliber rifle for small game/all-purpose($150-250). You can buy ammo for this gun very cheap.

Prepping 101 - Weapons

Moderate – There is a reason you hear so much about the AR-15. It packs a punch and is user-friendly. A more serious gun that will run you around $800. Remember that a gun without ammo is an expensive club. I would say buy 1,000 rounds (.223)

Serious – Different guns serve different functions. There are an almost endless variety of firearms for different occasions. If you are thinking this far, you are likely well versed in the topic.

Being prepared for an Emergency may very well have to involve Medical emergencies.

Basic – A good solid First Aid kit.($20-30) But remember to take the time to look through it. If you do not know how to use something it will not do you much good when the time to open the first aid kit comes.

Prepping 101 - First Aid Kit

Moderate – I remember my mother’s hall closet when I was young. It had stuff in there I didn’t even know what it did. Leftover bandages and prescriptions from ailments past. This buildup over time translates to a fairly thorough medical supply closet.

Serious – There are 2 ways to get more serious about medical supplies, quantity, and quality. Different sizes and storing in bulk on one hand. Specialized equipment for the more rare medical emergencies on the other hand. Nothing is a waste if you ever need it. If you don’t have your health, you don’t have anything right?

I put Light & Power together in the same category.

Basic – No-brainer here, a goodly supply of candles, flashlights, and batteries.

Prepping 101 - Generator

Moderate – A lantern if you didn’t already add one as part of the Basic step. But now is the time to consider a generator. Power outages are the one ‘disaster’ scenario we are all universally familiar with. A portable generator can run hundreds of dollars, but if it saved the food in the fridge one time, it has paid for itself. Just remember to never run the generator inside!

Serious – Looking into solar power is a big startup cost, but it takes power outages out of the equation. I have only a limited solar setup, but between that and my whole house generator and my ‘lots of candles’, I am in good shape.

Almost done folks, only 2 more categories left.

Communications during an emergency.

Basic – Do you have a crank charger for your cell phone? If you have a landline, do you keep at least one old-timey phone (i.e. not wireless)? There are also good, cheap, crank handheld radio so you can at least get the news($20).

Moderate – two-way handhelds(even kid walkie-talkies will work) are a great way to stay in contact with someone out of sightline during an emergency($15-30).

Serious – The world of HAM radio(amateur radio) is kind of fun if you are willing to put the time and infrastructure into it. The cost can run into the hundreds of dollars.

Lastly, knowledge is power.

Basic – Bored at work, there is a whole internet out there with people in it who love prepping and have put a wealth of information about our hobby out there for free for anyone with the time to read about it.

Prepping 101 - Country Living

Moderate – Buy a book like The Encyclopedia of Country Living($22), it is an amazing read, especially for us city folk. I also think there is a lot of good fiction that also helps map out what prepping is for, a book like ‘Dies the Fire’ by S.M. Stirling.

Serious – You can build an entire library of this kind of stuff. Everything from ‘How Things Work’, to Homesteading, to Animal Husbandry, to Bushcraft, to Surviving Nuclear War. Etc.Etc.Etc…Happy Hunting. Oh yeah, and books on Hunting too.

Now you have it. All the basics you need to kick off your “prepping career”. Some of these principles were not new to me. It is interesting that when you live in a place where incidents, emergencies, and even wars were not unknown how this “life hacks” stay ingrained into the everyday lives of the people. Having food in bulk, first aid kits, candles, and flashlights is obvious, but you can find generators also in almost every household. At some parts, the situation is same with weapons (not in my family).

Also, there were some ideas which are simple still I have never heard of, like that WaterBob thing, bleach and iodine tablets for water. It seems I need some improvements on my preparation levels. 🙂

Hope you enjoyed this post as much as I did and don’t shy away from asking anything from OthalaFehu int the comments if you remained curious 🙂

15 thoughts on “Prepping for Non-Preppers 101

  1. Interesting stuff. I think I’d be in real trouble if an event that required a prepper mentality ever happened. No marketable skills in a post apocalyptic world, pacifist nature, so no weapons, and clearly an underprepped house.

      1. Haha. I like dark humour 🙂 When we were visiting Transylvania back in the days the tour guide gave a survival advice in case of confronting with bears. When everyone starts running away you don’t have to be the first one, just be sure to don’t be the last one 🙂 She also said that in case of snakebite, don’t panic, they have an antidote. The Bible…

    1. A little bit of prepping won’t hurt, even can be financially beneficial. Depending on the nature of the emergency we could be in trouble. I am pretty confident about being able to survive in case of a power or water outage (basically because we have experienced both in the not too distant past). Probably the same stands for natural disasters. The only thing we really miss in this cases is a generator. If something more serious would happen, like an invasion or something we would be in trouble also as we have more serious rules for keeping firearms, moreover I have zero experience in using them. However sometimes I was thinking about getting an old style bow with arrows, but not sure how effective could that be in an emergency situation. I afraid it would be a “bringing a knife into a gunfight” situation 🙂

  2. It always appears to me that the financial independence community is a nearly gun free zone when being FI is really all about freedom. Financial freedom is of absolutely no value if you can’t protect your family from violence in a temporary or protracted societal disruption. It was refreshing to read a blog post by someone who treated the subject fairly and knowledgeably.

    1. Completely agree with this. Given the planning and foresight required for FI, it just boggles my mind that there isn’t more focus on being prepared. People are civil as long as we have the rules of society to protect us. I think this something people take for granted and that it is guaranteed to always be there. This breaks down quickly when there is a disruption like a protracted power or water outage or extreme weather event where lives are on the line. Tends to remove that civil veneer from people around us. Mr. Mossberg is handy in that event and quite the enforcer.

      1. Agree with you, especially that we have seen some strange situations even in my lifetime. Fortunately, there were no cases when firearms should be involved but could have been. Anyway, when the sirens sound their warning about incoming bomber airplanes it is not a funny thing. You definitely start to see life in a different way in those situations…

    2. I think that this is a similar topic than religion. Some bloggers take the courage and share the thoughts in these even if it could hurt their popularity. Also, I think many have some standpoints but don’t risk sharing them publicly. An interesting question anyway. I blame it on my upbringing that I never got connected to the usage of weapons (besides bows and airguns). If I would live in the states maybe I would have some kind of gun for self-defense purposes.

  3. Excellent post! I didn’t realize OthalaFehu was a prepper, so this article caught my eye. While I wouldn’t go so far as to call myself a true prepper (mostly because I don’t fit the stereotype), I think it would be foolish to keep a blind eye towards the future.

    I agree with the previous commenters regarding the puzzling lack of preparedness discussion in the FI community, since the hallmarks of forethought, planning, and knowledge which mark the FIRE trail also light the path to survival preparedness.

    The FFP household is at the “Moderate” level on most of the above scale, a few categories excepted. +1 for the reference to the Encyclopedia of Country Living! That was required reading on the homestead where I grew up. Thanks for the read!

    1. Every household should be able to be self-supplying at least for a couple of days/weeks. You never know when will something unexpected happen. The points above are not hard to complete (at least at the basic level) but it could be like the butterfly effect, small changes can cause a huge difference in the future 🙂 Thanks for reading!

  4. I started with prepping and than found FIRE. The most obvious similarity would be the “buy in bulk” credo. Where the philosophies differ wildly is in investing – gold/silver vs the stock market. To suggest Vanguard in a prepper forum would go over as well as suggesting gold coins in a FIRE forum.

    1. I think both have its place in your masterplan. Also, having both means more diversification which leads to more security. Am I right? 🙂

      1. Agree. I think gold can take the place of bonds in a standard bond/equity allocation.

        1. I often feel alone advocating for some precious metals in the FIRE forums, I don’t know why it is not accepted as part of a diversification of assets philosophy?

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