The Ultimate Prepper Guide
For Every Survival Situation
As I was browsing the internet recently, as I am so often caught doing, I noticed a sad phenomenon:
Out of all the resources of the internet, I did not find one that I would be comfortable recommending if a friend approached me and asked for a one-stop-shop guide to reducing risk, learning valuable skills, and being prepared for unexpected scenarios.
The purpose of this guide is to fill that gap.
I do not want to regurgitate information that you can find elsewhere. Instead, I want to place relevant and valuable information in one place that you can come back to time and time again when the need arises.
Approach this post like you would a buffet: there's no need to consume everything inside. Simply find what you need to know, learn about it, and come back when the need arises.
This post contains a lot of information about a variety of different topics. If you would like to go to a specific topic, click on it in the following list:
Table of Contents
Please feel free to bookmark this post and come back if you ever need info on a new topic. We will constantly focus on having new and relevant information at your disposal.
Modern Day Risk
The foundation of survival is in knowing what risks are present and preparing for them.
As technology has increased, no one will deny that our base comforts have increased with it. Technology has given rise to the spread of wealth, creature comforts, and pleasure.
Our modern world has more opportunity for success and happiness than any world before it.
Yet as reward increases, so does risk.
Now I'm not saying that we're gonna get hit with an EMP or that the petro-dollar is going to crumble.
What I am saying is that there are dangers in life that we need to be prepared for. And no one denies that if we are fully dependent on the modern supermarket way of life, we run that much greater of a chance of having our lifestyles disrupted by an unexpected event.
Here are a few of these risks that we should be prepared for followed by a brief description of each:
With all this in mind, these are just the risks I could think of off the top of my head.
Modern day risk is enormous. It only takes a small, relatively common risk such as a storm to trap you or your family on the interstate in your car, shut down your home electronics (including refrigerator, stove, and microwave), or make it impossible to gather food and water.
Knowledge of present day risk forms the heart of the prepared mentality.
Prepared Mentality: What Makes Them Do That?
For those not inside of the prepper culture, it can look a little strange.
Shows such as Doomsday Preppers have not been kind to those of us who are simply trying to prepare for an unexpected event.
Despite this alienation, most people who prepare for the unexpected ("preppers") are simply average Joes and Jills.
We have families, go to sports games, watch TV.
We find joy in being ready for whatever life may throw at us. Here are a few reasons why:
As mentioned above, we live in a dangerous world. Preppers enjoy being capable of handling this danger by decreasing our risk.
Think about it like this: I drove to the gym today and wore a seatbelt while in my car.
Was the seatbelt uncomfortable? Yes.
Did it restrict my movement? Yes.
Is there a scenario where my seatbelt could actually be dangerous and, for instance, choke me? Yes.
So why did I wear a seatbelt? Because the danger in not wearing one is too great.
When I say that we should reduce risk, there are several ways we can do it:
If you'll notice something about these ways of reducing risk, it's that we should be doing all of these anyway. In fact, the danger is not doing these things may be gigantic!
For instance, there is no reason why anyone should ever stop learning new skills.
So what separates preppers from others is this: preppers are intentional about our risk management.
We say to ourselves "If situation X is a risk in my life and I should be learning new skills anyways, I'll just learn new skills that will prepare me for situation X."
Prepping is not just for uneducated folks, mountain people, or hillbillies.
It is for anyone who doesn't want to be caught off guard by the unexpected.
Risk management is at the heart of prepping.
Preparing for unexpected situations has brought my family closer together.
There isn't a much better feeling than learning something and teaching a valuable talent to my wife or kids.
Prepping has allowed me to spend time with my family through working out, gardening, hunting, fishing, camping, and just building incredible quality time.
Not only has prepping made me a better family man and father, but it has made me a better neighbor as well.
Because prepping made me realize the value of teamwork, I have recently build much better friendships with my neighbors on all sides and all the way up the road.
In fact, we've even started a little bartering system. Just this week my closest neighbor brought me 48 of his chicken eggs that they wouldn't eat, so my wife made them a pie.
One of the great perks and motivations of prepping is that it helps build friendships and deepens family relationships.
Teaches Valuable Skills
We've hit this one already, but it's so important that I wanted to devote an entire subsection to this: prepping teaches valuable and enjoyable skills.
Since I've started prepping, I've begun to practice carpenter work. This not only reduces my upkeep expenses for my house (by a lot!) but if there was ever a situation where I found myself without an income, I now have a valuable skill that I can live off of.
I've taught my kids how to shoot bows, take care of and use firearms, build fires, tie knots, and forage in the wilderness.
I believe that these skills alone have gone a long way into teaching my children discipline and respect for me, others, and dangerous scenarios.
Prepping teaching useful skills. Finally...
Sleep Well At Night
Prepping has caused me to sleep a lot easier at night knowing that if (or when) something bad happens, there is a high probability that my family and I will be safe.
Whether it is an economic downturn, a bad storm, or even a war, I can provide for myself and my family because of the supplies and systems that I have in place.
That alone is worth every single penny I have.
Getting Started: Food And Water
Like anything worth doing, preparing for the unexpected takes a bit of commitment. And as with anything that takes commitment, it is easy to focus in on the big picture and feel overwhelmed.
The first question I'm usually asked about preparing is "Where do I begin?"
And to answer this, I would like to say that the best way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time.
Step #1: Save Up Some Water: The human body can last a very short amount of time without water. A good rule of thumb is about three days. For this reason, water storage should be your numbero uno.
Setting water storage as your number one goal accomplishes another task: it's easy!
Writing down and accomplishing step #1 in the same day is extremely motivating and it can be done with very little money.
For water, you'll want to store one gallon of water per person per day. Personally, I recommend keeping about one month's worth of water stored up for each person who you'll be expected to provide for.
It sounds like a lot, but it's super easy to accumulate over time.
Tips and tricks: For my method of storage, I use empty soft drink liters. As we drink up a Coke or Pepsi, I'll wash the container out and fill it up with life-giving water. These are strictly for drinking. I do this so I never have to pay for something separate to store my water.
This trick also makes it easy to build up a reservoir of water without worrying about it. Once we go through a soft drink liter, we just convert it to water. Easy peasy.
I used to have a 50 gallon drum in the back yard that sat there for ages. One day, I filled it to the brim with water and it would be solely used for bathing if we needed it.
It is best to separate your hygiene and your drinking water for a couple reasons. First, you don't want the use of one to deplete the use of the other.
Second, it's easier to calculate how much you'll actually need of each that way.
Be sure to replace your water stockpile every six months. Once you've done it a few times, it's quick and easy. Feel free to use the same containers if you're using soft drink liters like I do.
Step #2: Stockpile Food: Food stockpiling is a little bit more complicated than water storage.
For one, it's a bit more nuanced. All else being the same, the best food stockpiles are of high calorie foods.
Now please don't go out and buy five hundred honey buns and say you're ready for the apocalypse. You are not. Here's why.
All calories are attained from three things, each covered below.
Proteins: Proteins are 4 calories per gram. They are extremely useful for rebuilding muscle and extremely filling. Proteins are found in most types of seeds, nuts, meats, and pretty much anything that came from an animal at one point or another.
Consider these your superfood survival food because a high protein diet will repair your muscles and last you longer during the day than a high carbohydrate one. Which leads us to...
Carbohydrates: Carbohydrates (carbs) are also 4 calories per gram. These are usually the majority of calories we consume per day in the form of breads and sugars. Basically anything that tastes good has some carbs in it.
Carbs don't last too long in the belly, which leads you to feeling hungry sooner. They also don't give the most bang for your buck as far as calories per gram. That dubious award goes to...
Fats: Fats are 9 calories per gram. Despite the bad reputation that these little guys get in modern culture, the best survival foods have quite a bit of calories from fat in them. Fats are usually found in nuts, seeds, oils, most types of meat, and dairy.
Fats are among the most useful foods that any survivalist can grab in the grocery store for their survival food shelves. Due to their high calorie per gram count, you don't need to store or eat nearly as much of them to have just as much energy and survive until tomorrow on a budget.
Tips and tricks: For your stored food, you'll want to pick foods that are relatively high in proteins and fats while relatively low in carbs. This is why honey buns do not make for good survival food.
Think chili, beans, nuts, canned meats, etc.
You'll also want to make sure that your food can be easily stored (anything canned is great) and can last a long time (also cans).
As far as getting food stored on a budget, aim to get one day's worth of stored food every trip to the grocery store. In a few weeks, you'll have a pretty significant little stockpile.
Aim for one month's worth of food per person. It's not as much as it sounds like; just remember: the best way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time.
Step #3: Get Enough Toiletries: Strictly speaking, this isn't entirely necessary. You can survive the rest of your life without shaving cream, for example.
But it would be a lot less pleasant.
I don't have any specific storage methods for this one. I just make sure that I have enough toilet paper, paper towels, toothpaste, soap/shampoo/bodywash, etc. to last my for about a month.
The bathing stuff and toothpaste I usually stock up two or three months worth.
Just in case.
Necessary Tools And Weapons
After storing up the necessary food and water (about a month's worth), your next task should be to gather the necessary tools that are essential for survival.
This section will be separated into two subsections: Labor and Self-Defense.
Labor tools are more for basic survival. Fire starting, wood chopping, cooking, and so on.
Self-Defense tools will be exactly what they sound like. These are guns, knives, etc.
Let's get rolling.
Labor tools are anything that helps in the production of necessities.
Examples of labor tools we use in the modern world are refrigerators, washing machines, cars, and chainsaws.
Our lives have become pretty dependent on some of these tools and it doesn't take anything more than a downed power line to deprive us of our refrigerator, freezer, microwave, and stove.
So let's be honest. How much are you really able to cook without a refrigerator, freezer, microwave, and stove in your life?
Without a car, are you capable of gathering new food and water?
If not, the labor tools below are the ones for you. Some are just general suggestions while others I have included my personal recommendation, which will always be the one that I use. I have explained the ones that I thought may need some more details.
There are certainly other supplies that will come in handy during a crisis. Consider this more of a basic guideline. If you find something you think you'll need (or that you just want to buy) then do it!
You are the only one who can help you survive unexpected scenarios. Prepare how you think is best.
When it comes to self-defense, one type of weaponry pretty much ranges supreme: the good old firearm.
There are different situations in which different firearms are helpful. We are going to very broadly classify these as pistols, shotguns, and rifles.
Pistols: Pistols are the perfect concealed-carry weapon. Most pistols are relatively small. They can fit inside of desk drawers, car consoles or glove compartment, and can be carried.
Pistols are generally less powerful and less accurate than a rifle, but are excellent for carrying in your car or having as quick access.
When it comes to home defense, pistols are usually our last recommendation to choose. If you need to grab a gun fast, they are the ideal weapon. If you have a choice, we recommend grabbing something else.
Shotguns: Shotguns are the epitome of home-defense weaponry. One blast from a 12 gauge buckshot can do as much or more damage as nine rounds from a pistol or rifle in close quarters.
Shotguns generally have a low magazine capacity so the shots you make need to count. On the bright side, it is much easier to shoot close targets with a shotgun as each blast will spread as it travels out.
Shotguns are not effective at long range (unless you shoot slugs) due to the rounds being spherical. As your shot travels, it catches more wind resistance than a bullet and is forced to slow.
If someone is inside your house or within 40 yards, a shotgun is probably your best option. Your effective range will depend upon the length of your barrel, the gauge, and the type of shot you use, but for a long 12 gauge buckshot (our recommendation), your effective range will be about 40 yards.
Rifles: Rifles as we are classifying them are a wide and varied bunch. For self-defense purposes, we recommend picking up a rifle that can pick up where your shotgun drops off.
If this is for defense purposes, we do not recommend getting something that is bolt action. Waiting too long between shots can literally cost a life.
For the purpose of defense, we generally recommend shooting a larger round such as a NATO 5.56 or a 7.62x39mm bullet. If you have a smaller frame or want to get a gun without much kick, try for a 9mm or .45 carbine of some sort.
My wife and younger son both love their 9mm carbines and the recoil is low enough for them to stay on target between shots. While 9mm isn't a huge round, it has significant stopping power at close range.
Rifles have a ton of variety, so shop around and see what fits in your budget that is something you will be comfortable with.
Close Quarters Combat Self-Defense: Let's say that you find yourself in a situation where you don't have a gun and are about to be engaged in a close quarters brawl.
Because of laws and such, it's generally a bad idea to rough someone up too badly, but let's say it's life or death. In a life or death scenario, remember that it is better to be judged by twelve than carried by six.
As a rule of thumb, longer weapons are better. They keep you out of your enemy's range and you can apply more force with them. This is why knights fought with swords and spears, not knives and knuckles.
If it is life or death, aim for the most vital parts of the human body. The more blows you can land on the face, eyes, and throat, the better off you'll be.
I am personally a bit of a believer that in a life or death fight, attacking the testicles is not always effective. Adrenaline can make pain almost a non-event and a swift kick to the jewels isn't debilitating other than the pain it causes.
If I had a choice, I would much sooner smash a guy's knee than his groin.
As far as specific weapons go, I always carry a knife on me for more reasons than just self-defense.
My wife likes to carry pepper spray and I've considered carrying some sort of stun weapon, but never pulled the trigger on it.
Being capable of creating something when little or nothing is provided to you is one of the most valuable assets you can have when it comes to preparation of the unknown.
While tools are nice and easy to grab at the local store or on Amazon, those tools will almost always mean nothing if you don't have the correct skillset to apply.
Barring extreme physical trauma or mental handicap, your skills are something that will never leave you. No matter where you go, what you're doing, or who is doing it with you, you will always be able to provide when you need to.
When it comes to survival and being prepared for disaster, there are a few skills that come in handy more than others.
I am a believer that your personal skillset is the most important thing about you. As such, I highly recommend spending time developing yourself and mastering several skills.
I have found that it is easiest to master one skill at a time before moving onto the next one. If you are unsure what to start with, simply go from the top of the list to the bottom.
Don't be afraid to spend weeks or months just making sure that you are capable of performing that skill. Your survival is valuable and you can't master a talent in a night. Be patient and excellence will come.
Evacuation: Escape The Danger
Evacuation of house and home is something we only recommend if things get really, really bad and only under certain circumstances.
In fact, if you don't have somewhere better to go, your best bet may just be staying in the area you are familiar with.
If you are looking to make somewhere else to go (as in a bug-out location), then we can give you some tips.
1) Make it reasonably far from your home. If your home is no longer ideal for you to stay at, the neighbor's house probably won't be much better. Get your location where it will most likely be unaffected by troubles at home.
2) Make it reasonably far from anyone you wouldn't trust with your life. Having a group or society is great. Having a gang located half a mile down a dirt road is not.
3) Ensure that it is stocked with enough food and water so your family can survive until a new source of food or water is introduced.
4) Ensure that it is near a renewable food or water source. Do be careful putting it around lakes since people tend to gather around water. Too close to big sources of the drinking stuff and you may have some unwelcome visitors.
5) Have a defense against attack. If things are bad enough so that you left your old home, they may be bad enough where your new home will be attacked. Use distance, psychological barriers (it's up a big hill, for instance), or physical defenses to discourage stupid people.
6) Have a plan to get to your location. Will you drive? Walk? Will you have to bypass any major settlements to get there? Is there any way around?
7) Have two backup plans.
8) Coordinate with those who you wish to be with you. If you and your family or friends are cut off from communicating, have a place to meet and a time to meet.
Bug Out Bags: An Essential Tool
When it comes to escaping the danger (commonly known as "bugging out"), few things are more helpful than a bag or pack filled with all of your essentials.
I keep a bag of this sort in my home (multiple) and in each car, just in case.
These bags are to be used if and only if a situation arises where I or one of my family members finds ourselves forced to relocate with little preparation beforehand.
Even if it is something as simple as a car breaking down on the side of the road, we are prepared.
As for the material of your bug out bag, we recommend this backpack. I have several of them and all are great.
In your bag, I recommend taking enough food and water to last for a few days if necessary. Be sure to bring some sort of weapon like a pistol. This can be used for self-defense and hunting purposes.
It is only a personal preference, but I always have a hatchet with me in my bug out bag. Chopping wood may turn into a necessity if it is cold outside. In addition to my wood-chopping hatchet, I always carry a fire starter with me as well.
You may want to bring some sort of blanket as well. Finally, I keep duct tape, a flash light, a water filter, some first aid, and paracord in my bag.
Survival In The Wilderness
If you are escaping danger, caught unprepared, or forced to endure some unimaginable tragedy like a plane crash, you may find yourself forced to take a trek through unfamiliar territory.
Whether it be woods, plains, the desert, the winter landscape, or a true jungle scenario, there are a few tricks that can be found useful in all environments.
We'll start with the basics.
Finding And Gathering Water
In some environments like the rainforest or a snowswept winter, this won't be too tough of a task.
In some environments, it will be more difficult.
If you are in the desert, finding water can be a serious challenge. We've collected a few videos that should help you locate and collect water. They were made to address desert-specific water collection, but will work in any environment.
The second video recommends getting water from a cactus, which is rarely a good idea. Other than that, it's solid.
Notice that most of the water that these guys find is pretty nasty. The best way to purify it is to boil it, but that may not always be possible if you can't get a fire going.
That reason is why I always have a fire-starter and water filter with me. It's really the easiest way to solve the problem of dirty water.
Catching And Eating Food
The human body can survive a long time without food, but your body's performance starts to lag pretty quickly if you're going hungry.
We at PSG do recommend that you focus on water first, food second. In some situations, building a shelter may be even more important than food collection.
That being said, food collection may be one of the most difficult parts of surviving in hostile environments.
Without the modern comforts such as a gun, most people would starve pretty quickly if they were in a situation where they had to find a collect food.
When it comes to gathering food, there are three primary ways to do so.
Foraging: Foraging is probably the easiest way to gather food, but it can also be the most energy intensive and the least calorie rewarding.
If you are going to forage, here is a list of things to avoid:
If you find a plant that you think may be poisonous, you can try the universal taste test on it.
Let the plant sit on your tongue for about 15 minutes. Do not swallow it. If at the end of 15 minutes you feel anything indicating poison (itching, burning, nausea, etc.) then assume that the plant is not safe to consume.
If you do the taste test, make sure to only try one part of a plant at a time.
Hunting: Hunting is a great choice if you are capable of doing it. Assuming you didn't bring a gun, camo, or a hunter's stand, you can make tools in the wilderness.
A bow, for instance, can be made like so:
I like the first video in particular because that guy doesn't use a bit of advanced technology. He even uses a stone axe to cut the tree down.
Trapping is also an option and one that is probably a bit more cost-effective in terms of your resources. Unless you are an expert trapper, however, it may be difficult to capture any large creatures.
Here are a few videos on effective traps. Two of the traps are set in the desert. I figure if you can make traps in the desert, you can pretty well make them anywhere.
Traps are one of the best energy investments since you can make one, move on, and check it later. As far as food gathering food from land animals, it is probably one of the better methods.
Here is a great guide talking about all sorts of traps you can make in a variety of situations.
Fishing: The final method of collecting food is to fish for it. As far as energy and time investments go, fishing is probably your best bet.
It can't always be done, since you'll need a usable body of water and some existing materials, but if you can pull it off, it is highly recommended.
Here are a few videos on fishing with and without a rod. I've made sure to include videos showing how you can make your own rod, bait, etc.
Important Note: If possible, always cook any animal that you have killed. The best way to do this in the wilderness is to make a fire and roast your newly dead animal over it.
Here are two videos showing how to start a fire with limited supplies. The first one is what I consider to be the easiest natural method whereas the second video uses a car battery.
With your fire, always start with a small base and build up with larger sticks then branches as time goes on. Be careful not to try burning the biggest logs you can find as soon as you've made a spark.
The bigger the log, the longer it takes to catch fire.
Support From Family: How To Talk To Your Loved Ones About Prepping
Getting your family to support your prepping for the unknown is a momentous task and many would say that out of all the aspects of prepping, this can be the most challenging.
As many preppers have found out, not getting support from your spouse can make any sort of survival preparation extremely difficult if not impossible.
There's no one-size-fits-all way to talk to your family, but here is a guideline that I can recommend.
In my experience and in the experience of many preppers I've spoke with, the key is to be loving.
Show that you are concerned for your family and friends' wellbeing. It isn't paranoia or fantasy; you want to be ready when bag things happen, as they always do.
Then give them a big hug and remind them you love them. That always goes a long ways.
Financially prepping for prepping is a battle in itself. This is especially true in a world where people struggle to pay regular bills, much less the prepping bills!
I have three pieces of advice when it comes to this arena.
#1: Don't Compare Yourself
It is easy to compare our preparedness with the Joneses. Don't get sucked into the temptation to think "Oh man, that guy's got an armored personnel carrier, I'll never be as good as that!"
Well, first off, anyone who has an APC has way too much time on their hands anyways.
Second, don't compare yourself to that guy or gal!
You are not preparing for him or her. You are preparing for you. That means that if you are prepared at all, you have something to be proud of!
If you want to compare your measly three day's worth of food stored up, ask yourself this: how many people don't have three days worth of food stored up?
Well, almost all of them.
Even if you prepare a little bit, you are probably miles ahead of people who haven't started.
Even if you have started and are moving slowly, you are still miles ahead of people who haven't started.
Don't get bogged down in comparisons. Do what is right for you. Trust the process. We are not sprinters. We are marathon runners.
#2: Don't Get Overwhelmed
Yes, I know. There's a lot to do.
And the answer to your unspoken fear is that no, you never can and never will be 100% prepared for anything and everything life can throw at you.
But that doesn't mean that what you are doing isn't working.
Start small. Take baby steps and bite sized pieces. Start with food and water, then buy tools you need, then learn skillsets.
The best way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time. Take it slow, take it small. You'll look back one day soon and be amazed how far you've come and how much you've already done.
It is a good feeling.
#3: Start Now
I get it, you're a master procrastinator and you want to stick with what you're good at.
I get it. I really do.
The finances haven't lined up this month, your kid had to go to the doctor, you just don't have time.
I get it.
But I want to challenge you: do something today to prepare yourself for the unexpected.
Buy one day's worth of food.
Buy one hammer and a box of nails.
Go do a workout to prepare yourself physically.
Start a fire and learn to control it.
Things put off to tomorrow never happen. Get started today. The burden is a lot less than you think it will be.
Thanks for reading our ultimate prepper guide for every survival situation.
We just wanted to take a minute to thank you for being our incredible reader. Tell us in the comments below: what is a section that you would like to see added to this guide?
Stay safe out there. God bless.
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How To Prepare For...
No prepper guide would be complete without helping you prepare for specific situations.
As we have already written on some of these, we decided to put a link to those articles here. As we write about more devastating situations, we will continue to add.
Anything you'd like to see on this list? Tell us below!
Welcome To Prep Survival Guide
At Prep Survival Guide, we have one rule.
We will give you the best information to save your family, protect your assets, and to prepare for the unknown.
All the time, every time.
We'll teach you how to survive in the wilderness when you're forced to leave your home. We'll skip out on all the stuff that doesn't actually work.
Here, you can learn the best techniques to ensure that you are a force to be reckoned with. No more fluff, no more techniques from pansies who don't know what they're talking about.
We bring in personal defense experts, military members, and other specialists to make sure that you are given only the highest quality survival guide in the world. At Prep Survival Guide, we'll teach you how to:
Finally, we'll make sure that you know how to handle what's coming. We bring in guys and gals who have lived in the most extreme situations to explain in common language how to survive.
We separate danger response into three categories.
Risk Management: This is the most basic level of danger. Risks can be as simple as red lights or a downed power lines. Risks can be as complex as a possibility of an active shooter situation.
Threat Management: A threat is a risk that becomes a reality. A threat is a guy with a bar who wants to knock your lights out, an angry person with a gun, or an active war against your home country.
Crisis Management: A crisis is a situation when a threat is issued and active against yourself, your family, or your interests. A crisis is when inflation is rampant and your bank account is worth nearly nothing. A crisis is when you are forced to stay on the move to survive. A crisis is anything that actively endangers your life in the present moment.
Using these criteria, we will help you to:
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Let's face it. There are more prepper sites out there than there are feminists with a liberal arts degree.
With so much information (and misinformation) out there, we go the extra mile to give you the highest quality information at no cost to you. Here, you'll only get the best every time you visit. At Prep Survival Guide, we do the following:
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