May 21

What Is Prepping? Being Ready When Disaster Strikes


People have historically been interested in prepping, but many people still aren’t quite sure what goes into it….so what is prepping, exactly?

Prepping is a way to prepare for what could happen in the future. It isn’t just about being prepared for emergencies; it’s also about having supplies on hand if you lose your job and money becomes scarce.

Preppers are trying to be as self-sufficient as possible to have everything they need should disaster strike. There are many types of preppers, some more extreme than others, but no matter which type of prepper you may be, there is one thing we can all agree on: being prepared!

This article will cover what prepping means and its different types, how to start preparing now without breaking the bank, and why getting ready for emergencies ahead of time could save your life.

What is prepping?

Prepping is basically the act of preparing for the worst, so that you are not caught off guard should something happen.

It’s about being in control and having what you need to survive no matter what happens – whether it be an emergency or a natural disaster.

It can also refer to someone who is self-sufficient with their food, water, sheltering options etc., as well as some kind of defense capabilities (whether this means guns or other weapons).

Some people think prepping refers only to those individuals who have stashes of canned goods and bottled water stored away if society collapses on itself. Still, there are many different types of “preppers” out there – one type isn’t necessarily better than another.

Why do people prep?

People all have different reasons for prepping. Some might be preparing for emergencies, while some might be preparing to live off the grid.

The reasons why people prep can also vary by location – those who live in high-risk tornado zones have their own ideas about what they need to prepare for compared to someone living on a coast that is at risk of hurricanes or tsunamis.

People prepping often do so because they feel it’s necessary rather than necessarily wanting an emergency.

Preppers think differently when deciding what items should go into their stash and how big it needs to be depending on where they live and which natural disasters could hit them locally.

For example, if you’re in Florida, you may want more food storage than water; but water storage is what you’ll need the most if you are in a drought-stricken area.

The content of a prepper’s stash can also vary depending on which type they are: 72-hour kit, bug-out bag or long-term supplies.

Preppers often have multiple stashes because it isn’t always possible that their first one would survive a disaster unscathed and untouched – whether this is due to the nature of the hazards near them or just bad luck, there could come a time when all bets were off.

Different types of prepping

There are several different types of prepping, but it is possible to break them down into two categories – short-term and long-term.

Short Term Prepping

This can be described as things that someone would do to make sure they’re prepared for what could happen within the next few days, weeks or months.

In other words, this type of prepper might have essential food items on hand at all times, but they aren’t going out of their way to store up large quantities just yet.

Long Term Prepping

This has a time frame that extends beyond what most people think about when day-to-day life comes into play; instead, it focuses on the idea of being ready no matter what may come their way over the course of several years – sometimes even decades.

Here’s what goes into prepping in these categories:

Basic prepping or preparedness

Basic prepping means that you are always prepared for the worst. This means you may have all of your supplies at home and be well-stocked with food, water, medicine, clothes etc. You might also store up some emergency cash just if services like banks go down or an economic collapse happens.

Basic prepping kits or bags generally contain the following:

  • A first-aid kit stocked with essential items like adhesive bandages, painkillers and antiseptics. Basic preppers also invest in supplies for more serious injuries or ailments that are likely to affect them in an emergency, such as bleeding control kits, splints, CPR masks etc.
  • Food – canned goods are often stored up on shelves so they can be quickly grabbed during emergencies when stores may not always be available (although there is disagreement about whether this is the best idea)
  • Water – it’s important to have plenty of fresh drinking water ready at all times since clean taps could go dry during disasters (during Hurricane Sandy, people could not drink tap water for days).
  • Cooking source that doesn’t rely on electricity.
  • Maps – find out what the risks are in your area and how far you may need to walk or drive if an emergency arises, information on local hospitals etc.
  • Flashlights (with extra batteries), battery-powered radios (or hand crank ones) stay tuned in to a few different channels at all times, so there is some form of communication available in case power goes down.

This is considered by many to be the bare minimum that one really should already have in place. By ensuring you have these things ready to go at any given time, you give yourself and your loved ones a much greater chance of surviving any disaster.

Prepping for a natural disaster, or a disaster that lasts at least a month or more

Prepping for a natural disaster includes having a well-stocked pantry, using water wisely, and preparing for the worst. If you live in an area that has experienced natural disasters on occasion, it is best to be prepared than not.

Natural disasters can include anything from hurricanes to wildfires, and a good way to prepare for them is by having an emergency kit ready.

When prepping for a lengthier disaster, it is often necessary to have other items on hand, such as:

  • A generator for items that require electricity.
  • Weapons to protect yourself and your family.
  • Large stock of food and fresh water.
  • A bag with the essentials for a quick escape in such an event is called bug-out bags.
  • Communication devices for emergencies that don’t require internet or cell tower access.

While considered extreme by some, this is a level many go to to ensure their safety and their loved ones in case of emergency.

Prepping for long-term disaster

Prepping for a long-term disaster is generally what separates casual preppers from the more serious preppers.

Careful thought goes into how much food, water, and supplies to store and what type of emergency shelters to have in place.

A long-term disaster can include anything from a nuclear winter or pandemic outbreak to any disaster that can last months to even years.

Preparing for these scenarios will vary depending on the situation, but there are many steps you need to take now that could save your family’s lives later.

Many preppers who prep long-term like this will have a number of resources stocked away, including:

  • Food: a large stockpile of long-term canned food rotated out so it doesn’t expire.
  • Water storage supplies can include bottled or rain barrels and other methods to store fresh drinking water for when the tap runs dry.
  • Bug-out location, usually rural in nature, is stocked with supplies and can accommodate the family.
  • A bug-out bag includes what you need to survive on your own for a limited amount of time if evacuation becomes necessary; this could include water purification kits, food rations, or camping gear.

These are just a few basic ideas; there is a lot more that goes into this type of prepping. Long-term prepping also ties very closely into prepping for off-the-grid living, detailed below.

Prepping for off the grid living

Prepping for off-grid living is the most extreme of all the preparedness levels. This involves having a retreat location with a self-sustaining food supply and ample water.

Preppers will need to have the skills necessary for living off-grid, which includes knowledge of natural remedies or dangerous plant species in their area and how to hunt wild game.

You’ll need a place that is stocked with supplies and can accommodate the family. This could include tools, livestock, first aid kits, vehicles, boats, areas to grow crops, etc.

The whole point of having a bug-out location is to have your own survival plan and not have to rely on any outside help to survive.

This type of prepping isn’t always right for everyone who may not have the resources or means to live off-grid long term. Still, typically these are among some of the most serious types as they prepare for worst-case scenarios where there’s no help coming from outside sources when tragedy strikes.

Can anyone start prepping?

Yes, anyone can start prepping; it’s completely up to you on what level you want to start.

Casual preppers typically have a plan in place for themselves, their families and pets with things like first aid kits, water filters and some emergency supplies stored at home.

They may also subscribe to an alert system that can notify them about natural disasters or other emergencies, so they’re not caught off guard if something happens.

Serious preppers are more likely to spend time preparing for the worst by stockpiling food and having bug-out locations set up where they would be able to go should anything happen, such as governmental collapse or economic downfall with hyperinflation making goods scarce and unavailable.

How much does it cost to start prepping?

Because the levels of prepping vary so much, there is no set cost to prepping. It could be as little as $50 for an emergency kit or as much as $5000 or more to prep a bug-out location.

The cost of prepping depends on what kind you’re interested in, how many people are involved and your budget. Preparing for the worst can be done without spending a lot of money by relying exclusively on skills that have been developed over time, such as growing food at home or hunting.

It’s important to note that not everyone has the same level of risk tolerance because not all types of emergencies will affect everyone equally.

Final thoughts on what prepping is

The prepping world is vast, and there are different levels of preppers, from the person who has a survival kit in their car to someone who lives completely off-grid. If you’re looking for more information on what kind of prepper you might be, we’ve got some great articles about that here.

What kind of prepper do you think you are? Let us know in the comments below!


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