Beginning Prepping, or Help I have no idea where to start
Got it, you just found me, and you look around and “everyone” is farther ahead, and what do I do? And you watched the news, or read a whole lot of prepper sites and they all say the same things.
The world is ending tomorrow and you need to be ready tonight.
Take a breath….now another one….and calm down.
First thing you need to do is look around yourself and assess what you can do, or have, already. What are your hobbies? There aren’t many not fitting in the prepper lifestyle. Can you knit or crochet? I can’t, too much damage to my hands early in life. But I can get you all the wool you need to make everyone sweaters and socks. You might not be able to handle trapping, no problem. I got it.
Everything from cooking to construction is in there somewhere. So it makes sense to start from your own base line. What is your experience level? Prior military? House wife? Everyone brings something important, you have to find your area of expertise and see where it fits into the larger picture.
“A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.”
― Robert A. Heinlein
Heinlein was wrong about specialization in humans. Although he was correct in his assessment in people needed to be diverse, no one can act alone for very long. As it has been shown in areas where unrest has occurred recently, the only long term survivors have been with other people. Its one thing to buy a bunch of junk, its better to start with an inventory of people you know. There are groups online listing people looking for others, with the same mindset as you are developing. Every attitude in the world is out there if you are willing to look.
Meetup.com is one where prepping is a popular subject. I do warn you, its a whole lot like internet dating. You meet a whole lot more you don’t like than you do. I’m a single father, I know.
Groups are like that. The trick is not what you want, but what you need and unless the personality is so abrasive or arrogant you can always learn something. And just because you don’t know about 1 subject doesn’t take away what you do know. It’s cool to be tactical, but someone has to know how to preserve food and wash clothes. Take what you can, give what you are comfortable with and increase your knowledge.
So, my opinion is start with family. Families bond best in hard times. And you pretty much know what they are going to do in most situations. That’s not always good but they will surprise you if given the right guidance when they need it.
My kids are preppers but only because I’ve made it into adventures outside. In my post about BOB’s I talked about map reading and terrain which could be obstacles in getting home. I am also a hunter, and taught them the best place to find certain species of animals is in the least appealing places to walk. Animals learn from human behavior faster than humans learn animal behavior. So by osmosis they look at someplace on a map, and someplace they have seen. They either say “I can do that” or they say” Dad, that’s not gonna happen”.
Fire making is great fun for kids. “Gee Dad, you REALLY want me to set something on fire?” Be careful what you wish for here, my son got lock picks for his 14th birthday and suddenly he was popular with the “locked keys in locker” crowd at school.
Some things are fun to teach, and some things are just reality therapy. Like making teens wash their own clothes. Turn a camping trip into learning about animal tracks. If you don’t know, find someone who does or buy a book. A good library is a wonderful thing when you don’t have anyone to ask.
If I were starting over today my library would be the first thing I reconstructed. Even if I’m gone my children know where to look for answers. There might not be the answers to everything, but it beats reinventing thermodynamics to heat bath water. Everything, from gardening to gun smithing. My library takes up 3 rooms and threatens 2 more. Yes, a bug out would require a Uhaul just for books.
Information is the most valuable commodity in the world. Both today and tomorrow.
Notice nowhere here, have I said anything about the normal, buy this, get that, this is better than that because its what I bought?
In every group there are experts, do not take them as all knowing. But they will create a base of knowledge for you to draw on. The person who already knows about bulk water storage because they are doing, knows more than the person reading the blogs about the same thing. Never be afraid to wonder why. In my group I specialize in communications, weapons, security, trapping and related subjects. I dabble in cooking and being the librarian.
I can help with everything, but I am willing to take orders when I’m not the expert. I am also able to take control when I am the expert and its needed. You should be as well.
A successful prepper or prepperet is one who has done a real, honest self assessment, and knows what they cannot do.
That is where learning starts, and where you should start as well.