Doomsday Prepping and Doomsday Preppers are terms that have become more mainstream over these last few years. This has resulted in two different things one good, and one bad. The good thing is sparking the curiosity of a lot of people and some of these people have joined the prepper movement. The bad thing is people hear the term prepper and what it is and do not take the time to become educated or understand it. They simply assume preppers are delusional and paranoid survivalists living in a bomb shelter.
People prep for a lot of reasons, but the movement really began gaining steam when American’s realized the government is rarely there to take care of all of them in an emergency situation. Preppers have taken this fact into account and have decided they can take care of themselves. The prepping lifestyle isn’t always for doomsday, but the doomsday situation is used to guarantee total preparation for the worst possible case scenario. If you are prepared for doomsday then you are prepared for floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, anything nature throws your way.
Prepping is exactly what it sounds like, being prepared, and being ready for scenarios without the rule of law. Prepping isn’t just for disaster scenarios but often carries over into everyday life. Before I was a prepper I didn’t do even the simplest preparations, I figured it would never be me, or if it was someone would help me. I didn’t carry the basic day to day items, and I didn’t even have a pair of jumper cables in my car or a knife in my pocket.
Prepping is about self-reliance and independence. Preppers strive to separate themselves from the survivalist movement that came to be in the 90s. Survivalists where often portrayed by the media as racists, militias wanting to overthrow the governments, or religious cults. Preppers are your neighbors, your friends and coworkers and they can be some people you never expect.
Where to start?
Doomsday Prepping seems intimidating when you first look at it. This is especially true when you start looking at more experienced preppers. Do you go out and buy a thousand bottles of water and a few hundred pounds of rice? Do you buy a rifle and a couple of thousands round of ammo? Figuring out where to start can be the hardest part.
I always tell people with an interest in prepping to start with the 72 hour bag. A 72 hour bag also known as a bug out bag is a pack with enough supplies to last you 72 hours. The bug out bag is what you grab when the flood waters get too high and it’s time to evacuate. Now I start people with this bag for a number of reasons. First off it’s kind of fun to build a 72 hour bag, it’s easy to do and it’s interesting. It can be something of a scavenger hunt to find the right items for your pack.
I like to teach building the bag because of its educational value. As I said long term prepping is intimidating, but a 72 hour bag is not. Prepping for 72 hours seems easy when compared to stocking enough preps for months. When people begin to prepare their 72 hour bag they begin learning and realizing what a person needs to live, even for just three days. These minor preps are the building blocks to more major prepping. I call them the gateway preps.
A 72 hour bag is fairly simple to build, but there is no set blue print for it. A bug out bag should be adaptable to the situation, and should be built to reflect your own circumstances. For example someone living in south Texas should pack a lot more water than someone in Connecticut. Or people in Florida packing more bug repellant and a snake bite kit. There a few things that every bug out bag should have though.
- Fire starting materials. Hurricane lighters, waterproof matches and magnesium fire starters all work together.
- Multi tool. A high quality model from a company like Gerber or Leatherman, don’t settle for the dollar store junk.
- Survival knife. A survival knife should be a fixed blade of at least four inches. Companies like KA BAR, Ontario, and Gerber make quality products.
- Water Purification method. Liquid drops, dissolving tablets and a water filter. Drops and tablets are available in any outdoor store and websites like Amazon, a small, high quality survival straw is perfect for the pack.
- Rope. Preferably a mil spec rope like 550 aka para cord. Para Cord is tough as nails and is used by the military for a variety of roles. In prepping it can be used for snares, building shelter, or lashing things together.
- Food. This one is obvious, enough food for 72 hours is important, but eating enough calories is more important. Focus on high calorie foods like MREs, or Energy bars. There are even several brands of high calorie survival bars that are widely available.
- Water. Besides being able to purify water you’ll need some before you reach wherever you’re bugging out too. I suggest having enough water for 24 hours with the minimum being 64 ounces, but aiming for a hundred won’t hurt.
- Sleeping materials. Sleep not only replenishes you physically and mentally, but is what aids your body in healing. Sleeping Materials will depend on your environment and the weather. A good sleeping system may be necessary, which would be a sleeping bag, compression sack and water proof bivy cover. Some of us may be able to get away with a simple tarp and poncho liner. (Poncho liners are wonderful things, carried by amazon and most army surplus stores)
- Extra Socks
These are some of the absolute basics of a bug out bag. These are a few things to simply begin with. Now when it comes to the actual bag I don’t suggest using just the average back pack. True it will work in a pinch and if you are on a budget you have to use what’s on hand. I suggest a dedicated outdoors pack, one made for serious hikers or for the military. In fact for around a hundred dollars one can pick up a mountain ruck version of the ALICE pack with a steel frame from any surplus store.
Once you build your bag you are never truly finished. I constantly swap this and that out, or simply find some new way to add more and more to the pack. I’ve made it a habit to change what’s in the bag to match the season. For example I change up the extra clothes and sleeping system when it gets colder. During the rainy summers I add an extra poncho. Little things like that make a big difference in your survival situation simply because you are never going to see it coming and may not have the time to add what you need.
Considering a Firearm
If you are completely new to firearms this can be another daunting situation when it comes to prepping. Daily we can see we don’t live in the friendliest of worlds. There are a small amount of people out there who want to hurt others. This factor will be amplified once a disaster happens, and the prepared will be targets for the desperate. There is also the high risk of four legged predator, like dogs abandoned by their owners.
Firearms can also be a source of food when hunting comes into play. No matter where you stand on the gun control issue a gun is a necessity for a prepper, preferably multiple guns, and the know how to operate and maintain them. Choosing your first firearm has been covered by articles in magazines, the internet, covered by videos on YouTube and training dvds, and you are bound to find a different opinion behind every gun counter.
The truth of the matter is that everyone is different. In all honesty my best suggestion is to find someone who owns guns, or a range that rents guns and actually get out and shoot a few guns. This is the best advice I can give. The more experience you have the better a decision you’ll be able to make.
Now the second best piece of advice I can give is too buy an affordable .22 rifle. The .22 rifle is not only a great hunting weapon for preppers, but they are quite affordable. 22 rounds can be purchased quite cheaply with 350 rounds for around 16 dollars. .22 rifles are great rifles to learn with, they are quieter than most guns, and the recoil is almost nonexistent. The rifles themselves are very easy to use and very accurate.
A .22 rifle is the perfect beginner’s rifle. 22 Rifles are much easier to shoot and much more affordable than a handgun. The next weapon I’d suggest is a shotgun. For close range hunting and self-defense nothing beats a shotgun. Shotguns are capable of taking both small game with a birdshot load and large game with buckshot. Shotguns are very versatile weapons.
One of my favorite sayings is knowledge weighs nothing. Throughout my military career I heard the same phrase over and over which was, “When I quit learning, I’m dead.” Simply meaning learning new skills and adapting to new technologies is what can keep you alive. There are a variety of skills out there that make surviving into thriving.
Snares are something that can hunt for you 24 hours a day with little to no effort on your part. They can be constructed with little more than what nature already offers you. You can construct a snare with a few feet of 550 cord and knife. With just a knife you can notch a few sticks and construct a figure four deadfall trap. All it takes is a little research and a little education, and a lot of practice.
Learning to properly dress game is critical to efficiently harvest the meat. Learning sanitary methods to dressing game is also important. This goes for deer, pigs, squirrel, birds, and fish. Different animals require different ways to properly clean and dress them. Finding a hunter this day and age maybe difficult, but most are more than willing to share what they know with a beginner.
This sounds easy but can quickly become tricky. Luckily it can be learned at home with little instruction. It’s a matter of arrangement and simple trial and error. Building a shelter half with a tarp, some cord and a tree is quite easy.
If you own a gun you should be able to hit a target. The majority of shooting skill will be built on confidence with the weapon. Building confidence and learning how to shoot is going to require time and ammo and maybe a little instruction. There are a lot of great courses taught by NRA instructors available across the country. The Appleseed program is another very affordable and unique program that teaches the basics of handling a rifle with some American history.
These are just a few of the skills a prepper should learn. I could never list all of the skills because eventually it would become obnoxious. Learning should never cease. Learning these basic skills will give you a good foundation to build on. Hitting your first tin can with a rifle, or building your first working snare is an incredibly satisfying feeling. Get out there and learn something, just a few hours a day can make a huge difference in your skill level.
In the end..
In these unsure times being prepared isn’t weird or paranoid, it’s simply being prepared. Do not be intimidated when you start, throw that notion out the window. Most experienced preppers are more than happy to teach new preppers. The prepping community is very open, and very welcoming. Let’s face it and the end of the day the only person in charge of your well-being and your families well-being is you.