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What Is Prepping?

When some people think of prepping, it conjures images of strange people wearing tinfoil hats huddled in a shelter while they wait for the mothership to return. For others, thoughts of a recluse living in a one room shack in the middle of rural Montana comes to mind.

But neither of those thoughts capture the real nature of prepping.

At its heart, prepping is simply preparing for the future. And since there is no certainty of what that future may bring, preppers frequently hope for the best yet prepare for the worst. And with good reason, many preppers feel that we are on the verge of a significant change in life as we know it. So they prepare.

Three Facets Of Prepping

For the modern prepper, prepping involves three primary areas: acquiring the necessary supplies, learning requisite skills, and building a community.

 Acquiring The Necessary Supplies

Food, water, shelter. We all need these things to survive. Moreover, we all need a continual supply of them. Preppers know this and take steps to prepare themselves in case the supply is disrupted for any reason.

Preppers don’t want the loss of a job or a truckers strike to keep them from eating. So they prepare. They buy extra food when it’s on sale. They grow their own in a garden and preserve it. They buy in bulk and store it for a rainy day.

Similarly, preppers don’t like debt. So they pay off their mortgage, they live within their means, and they work hard at their jobs. They are not afraid of physical labor to provide for their families. Preppers don’t want the loss of a job to turn into the loss of a home or car.

Learning Requisite Skills

Prepping may start with food and supply storage, but it doesn’t end there. Preppers regularly learn and practice new skills. They learn to cook. They learn emergency first aid. They learn to hunt with a variety of weapons. They learn to build debris huts and other shelters.

From sewing and canning to firestarting and and knot tying, preppers learn important and potentially life saving skills before they may need them. It’s part of being prepared.

Building A Community

Preppers recognize that there is value in getting to know other like-minded individuals. We can learn from each other. We can help each other. We can share our knowledge and encourage one another. Prepping is not a zero-sum game; we can expand the pie by helping others.

Additionally, it’s impossible for a prepper to acquire every supply and every skill he may ever need. There’s simply not enough time or money to prepare to that extent. So preppers get to know others in their local community with similar passions yet different skill sets.

If you’re having car trouble, it’s nice to know a mechanic. If you’ve injured yourself, it’s good to know an EMT. If the food supply is disrupted for an extended period, it’s good to know a farmer.

People helping people; that’s part of prepping.

Where To Start?

Prepping is a journey. And as the old adage goes, every journey begins with a single step. Recognizing the need for and prudence of prepping and acknowledging that you are woefully underprepared is a good first step.

Next, make a plan. Identify where your are with your supplies, your skills, and your community. Then determine where you’d like to be and make a plan to close the gap. If you have 3 days worth of food in the pantry and you want 6 months worth, prioritize that and plan.

This site can help. So can others. But the key is to do something. A plan without an action is simply a wish.

What If It Never Happens?

But what if you’re wrong? What if an emergency never happens? What if you gather these supplies and never need them?

So what? Consider yourself fortunate. You were prepared for the worse and the best happened.

At a minimum, you were able to sleep better at night, secure in the knowledge that you would have food on the table regardless of what happened in the world. I wouldn’t consider that a waste of time.

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15 Comments on “What Is Prepping?”

  1. Barbara Simkins Says:

    You present a very logical, level headed approach to prepping. I am glad I found you, I look forward to future posts!

    Reply

  2. Backdoor Survival Says:

    I have addressed the issue of survival mindset (and the fact that preppers are not nut jobs) so often that I can not even begin to count. Most of my friends that live in the cities don’t get it while folks living in more rural environments consider it a way of life.

    The best we can do is continue to educate and hope that with each speech, each post, and each email, one more person gets it.

    Nice post.

    — Gaye

    Reply

  3. Marilyn Says:

    I am in my 60’s. I never thought of it as “prepping”…Just being careful, ready for whatever happened. I didn’t think of social breakdown. I thought more of, four kids and not enough money for groceries…. related to a controlling husband who didn’t provide much. It was survival alright. I learned to cook, with next to nothing. I sewed and remade hand me downs from friends to clothe my kids. I was VERY careful with their diet and health as poor health cost money! I grew a garden because I liked to eat well and it wasn’t tied to cash. I recycled because, it saved money…soda cans got a cash refund….. that money issue again. I picked my own veggies when I couldn’t grow enough. I sought out wild orchards for found fruit and nuts. I fished because it put food in my freezer…and told my kids it was fun! I learned to can, dehydrate and freeze because it allowed me to store excess. Those few grocery dollars went further.

    Well time passes , children grow up and marriages end. Other crisis come along though. Unemployment, poor health and now age. My prepping continues. I learned that having extra stores meant none of us went hungry. I wasn’t tied to stores for many basics of life. I had a cushion to tide me over difficult times. You don’t have to be concerned about the world out there to figure being prepared is a great idea. Life can throw challenges that can be made easier, simply by knowing how to survive!

    Reply

    • Joe Says:

      What a fantastic testimony to prepping, Marilyn. Unfortunately it appears that we, as a nation, have lost that common sense approach to life.

      Thanks for the comment.

      Reply

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