Emergency preparedness from a Counterintelligence Agent

Prepping: 10 simple ideas on how to start

Preppers are you preparedSo how do you start prepping?

Prepping is getting more mainstream today and there is a lot of information out there now about getting ready for an emergency or in case SHTF, but if you’re new to being a prepper, what should you do first? You need to know how to start prepping. If you’re one of my regular readers, you may be a bit more advanced when it comes to prepping because my typical articles have been for more thorough research. It’s time I start balancing things and have  some articles that have a bit more reach and are more useful to the 99% of people out there looking to prepare their families for emergencies or in case SHTF or even prepping for doomsday.

It was a bit difficult to come up with this list due to the wide array of possible readers, possible SHTF scenarios and abundance of things preppers could be learning, stocking or doing but I think I narrowed it down pretty well. You can always use the comments below if you feel differently, or start your own blog.

1) Start collecting some research materials about prepping.

There are a lot of websites and a lot of books and movies that you can start with – kind of like homework. By studying the prepper world, you’ll see things from a different perspective. At first, you don’t know what you don’t know so you don’t even know what to ask (did that even make sense?).

Prepping websites

  • Prepperwebsite is a great place to get an overall view of current articles in the prepping world. It has some of the best articles, hand-picked by the owner. I’m lucky enough to already have articles that have been chosen on their list.
  • American Preppers Network is a huge bunch of websites. You could easily get lost there for months. Join the forum there and start using the search form, then start posting your questions.
  • Survivalist Boards is another place to ask questions. It’s not particularly prepper-centric but most of it will be useful to beginning preppers. My name there is Albus Tigris.
  • Backdoor Survival has several good articles for new preppers. I’m sure Gaye won’t mind if you contact her with questions either.
  • Survival Top 50 has a HUGE list of survival blogs. There  are some gems in there. Head there and just start clicking away; you’ll find what you’re looking for.

Books on prepping

Here are three books that  you probably want to check out:
The Prepper’s Pocket Guide: 101 Easy Things You Can Do to Ready Your Home for a Disaster
Build the Perfect Bug Out Bag: Your 72-Hour Disaster Survival Kit
SAS Survival Handbook, Revised Edition: For Any Climate, in Any Situation

For a much larger group of books, check out this page of prepper and survival books.

Prepper movies

Movies are a great way to learn about prepping and a great way to get your family on board to start preparing for emergencies.

Because of this, I’ve started a page just for movies that preppers and survivalists would like to watch.

2) Study and drill your overall emergency plan

Once you’ve gotten some idea of what you need to do and how to do it, you really need to sit down and make an overall plan. This is kind of like making an outline for a book or story. This is where you’ll list any plans you have or things you still need to do in general terms. You should be continually updating this overall emergency plan. It should be in one place (or exact copies) that anyone in the family will know where it is to grab. I’d keep it in a binder at the house and some kind of copy in your bug out bag. Digital backups are always a good idea but don’t make it your only method.

Whatever lists you’re going to make should go into this plan. You might end up with a bug out bag list (or several), emergency contacts, routes, frequencies; whatever.

You also need to decide under what circumstances you’ll be activating different parts of your plan such as bugging out or locking the place down etc. If SHTF, you may not be able to contact your family members. It would help if there is an understanding of what to do in case of different scenarios.

The point is, have one overall plan that you can grab that will reference everything. This emergency plan should also list not only what you’ve prepared but what you still need to look into or  get. Then you need to find the discipline to train and practice your plans until they’re drilled into your family’s heads. Repetition is the key. Rehearse anything that relates to your plan, even if you can’t always do the whole thing. Give assignments to each member in your party to study and teach to the rest.

3) Prepping a bug out bag

There is a LOT of information on the web about what to pack in a bug out bag. You first need to figure out what you’re planning on before you can figure out what to put in your bug out bag. My post on 10 tips how to pack a bug out bag could be one place to start. Also check out this page for some ideas of what to pack that you might not have thought of.

Essentially, get the basics such as medical and survival equipment, some backup communications, spare cash, change of clothes, and copies of documents. Put them into an easy-to-reach place, ready to go. Inventory this bag and put the list into your overall emergency plan. If you don’t know exactly what you want to pack, you can get kits such as this 4 Person Survival Kit, already made up for you to start.

4) Make an emergency contact list

If SHTF or you have a house fire or whatever, your family members may need to reach someone. Does everyone in your family have the phone numbers, full names, addresses and directions to the home and office of all your other family members and people you trust? Do you have all the police, fire and hospital numbers and addresses listed? Make a very thorough list and make sure everyone has a copy of it. This list should go into your overall emergency plan.

5) Decide where you’re going to go if SHTF

It’s all well and good that you’ve finally realized that there may be cases where you’ll have to leave the house if there’s a flood, fire, earthquake, tornado, or laser attack from Mars, but where will you go and how will you get there? When you’re a beginning prepper, you may not need to go to the extent of having a complete bug out route assessment, but you should have the basics of where you’re going to go.

6) Decide who will be a part of your plan and who will not

This may sound like a strange thing to worry about but it may become the biggest mistake you make when a SHTF even really happens. If you don’t watch what you say and do, you could be planning to support 4 people and end up with 12 mouths to feed in an emergency. It would be better to know now that you have to plan for 12 (and hopefully get them on board to help themselves now) or keep the other 8 in the dark about what you’re doing. This is a good time to figure out what you’re going to do with your pets.

7) Start making studying and repetition a part of your life

Skills don’t weigh nuthin. Get it into your head right now that it would be better to know how to make something out of scrap you find than it would to carry it. with enough knowlege, you could get dropped off into the middle of the woods naked and still be able to survive. Sounds kind of fun, actually. Maybe a little painful. Drill, drill, drill. A big part of preparation is rehearsal. Special Forces units practice for months for operations; you should too.

8) Get your family into prepping

Why didn’t I put this at the beginning of the list? What are you going to say when they start asking you questions? You need to start your research and get into things a bit before you start trying to get buy-in from your family. It’s extremely important, but not the first thing you should be doing. There’s no particular order to this list, BTW but I was just making a point. Make sure you read this article before you talk to any senior citizens in your family. You’ll be surprised at the background and experience that your older family members actually have.

9) Start getting your finances in order

You might think this is out of place for a How to be a prepper list but it’s pretty important. Stocking items and taking lessons will take money. If you’re swamped with bills, you won’t be able to pay for things so you’ll have to do everything the hard way and you won’t be as far along as you could be. Take a look at your finances and start living within your means. There’s even a great Rich Dad Cashflow 101 board game that goes along with his book series. I’ve been reading the Rich Dad Poor Dad series for years. Awesome ideas in there.

10) Work out and start eating right

People who are in shape statistically survive emergency situations more often. There are many reasons for this but think about it; if you’re in shape, you won’t require as many medicines, you’ll be able to walk farther with more weight, and you’ll better be able to defend yourself. Start working out, eating right and getting enough sleep. It’s a change that you should be doing even if you’re not new to prepping but could end up being the one thing that saves your life. The INSANITY workout is one that a lot of Soldiers I know are using and they love it. It’s not an easy workout plan, but if losing weight and getting in shape were easy, everyone would be doing it.

References: Prepper Website; Wikipedia prepper redirect; Prepper Journal

The biggest thing is to get out there and start. If you have any questions, feel free to post a question in the comments below and if you have any opinions or answers to peoples’ questions, also feel free to answer below.

About graywolfsurvival.com

I am a former federal agent and military veteran who has deployed to combat theaters in Africa, Iraq and Afghanistan and have almost three decades of military and military contracting experience.

My goal is to help families to understand how to intelligently protect their family and their way of life against real threats, without all the end-of-the-world doomsday crap.


  1. Raymond Burton says

    Finances and Fitness are two that are not sexy to most but they are so important! So many people are researching getting a .22 versus 7.62×39 when they are $50,000 in debt and 60 pounds overweight.

  2. graywolfsurvival says

    Yup yup. You can’t do everything so you have to prioritize. Fixing finances and your fitness level are not only important, they take a long time to fix. You can’t just go out one day and you’re done.

  3. Watch “The Walking Dead” and “The Day After.” The greatest threat will be “normal” citizens who will respond to the Reptilian Portion of their brain, and ethics are out the window. It will be kill or be killed. You’d better be prepared to do things; like kill women and maybe even children, if things get really bad. It’s not going to be “fun camping trip.”

  4. Thank you for writing this. We have been preppers for over 13 years. Some people made fun of us when we first moved out to the country home we have when they found out. Then we all got snowed in for 2 weeks. No power, no nuthing. After only 2 days people started to flock to our door. I will NEVER tell another soul that I have saplies ever again. It turned into a mad house. Thankfuly, most of them have started to prep now to. They learned from us that it is better to have your own.

    • Making friends is VERY important. Keeping your OPSEC is also very important. Just make sure you balance that with what’s best overall. Keeping too many secrets can limit you but so can telling everyone everything.

  5. Good blog and article man.
    I’m not a prepper myself, I’m still living at home (soon to move out though), and rather afraid of the ridicule I’d get from my family and peers, since prepping, even in the not-over-the-top variety is generally regarded as ‘crazy’ by them.
    But the more I research about preppers and prepping (I had to cause I have a school project about it), I realize I am actually not so different from them (in terms of mindset, not so much action. Because I can’t do anything except learn skills and mentally prepare). Even my most open minded classmates regard to them as nutters, and that was the focus of the project for most of my peers, focus on how crazy preppers are, how delusional or mental, but the fact is… as how I see it… preppers aren’t delusional, they are REALISTIC and PRACTICAL!
    Cause let’s face it, nothing lasts forever, no system, no gouvernment, no civilization, there is ALWAYS a pattern of rise, bloom, and downfall. I believe we have started the ‘downfall’ part of the cycle. No one knows how long it will take, but I have an eery feeling I will still experience it (I’m 20 now, so still many years ahead of me). Pollution, economic system, politics, it is all slowly spiraling out of control.
    What normal people do is go on with their lives and ignore what will happen. It is not a matter of IF but of WHEN. And WHEN it happens, they go batshit crazy and freak out and their whole world collapses. They regard preppers as crazy people, but yet when emergency strikes come knocking on their doors, even using violence to steal what they built up in their cleverness.
    And I have to admit SOME people take it a bit TOO far, but there’s nothing wrong with being rational and preparing oneself for possible disaster rather than ignoring the looming danger and sticking one’s head into the ground like an ostrich.

    • Life is about balance. Being prepared for emergencies or life’s curveballs is no different. You can’t let what’s possible dominate what is.

  6. Make sure you are prepped for what is coming:
    This will change your life.


  7. getting family invested is a big one, 60% success, the others think things will allways continue as before. at least my son is interested in hunting and many thing he’s getting cross over.

  8. Be careful fleeing. If martial law is in place it maybe enforced. The defence force having heat sensors and a heap of preppers fleeing can quickly turn into a video game. Trust instinct is what im getting at

  9. Should I make a bug out bag for each family member or just one big one my kids are young 7&9 I’m new to this and not really sure what all to include in the bag

    • I’d have a small one for each. They should at least have water and some contact info, whistle, and a flashlight with a couple spare batteries. Can’t make it too heavy but that stuff would be nice and you can’t carry everyone’s water. As they get a little older and learn how to use it, they can get more gear but they should learn skills more than have stuff.

  10. My husband and I have just started prepping and I can’t read enough information on what we should be doing to prepare. Our biggest questions seem to be about where to find a safe place to go. We live in Ohio right now but plan on moving to Tennessee (Cumberland area) in 3 years. I’ve read a little about the area but I’m not really convinced this is a safe area to stay. Anyone’s thoughts or suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

  11. Sun tzu art of war that’s applies prepping is war before and after

  12. Girlfriend and I grow most of the vegetables we eat and have been canning for years now, so we have those skills down pat. Even when we make soups and chili we make 20 quarts worth to put up. What else should we be doing to shore up our food stocks and other essentials? We also save seeds. Thanks to all.
    Alpena Michigan

    • Build a food dehydrator one that just used sun and airflow, you might not have fuel to can effectively if the SHTF. Learn to hunt and trap, get some gold gram bars for bribes if needed to get out of dodge in the midst of a collapse, good saw, axe,shovel and old school manual drill, get some lighters and some sort of water storage and filtration

  13. For starters learn to hunt,research weight of your weapons can mean life or death always keep at least one knife on you at all times learn how to purify water and keep jugs with you to hold water learn how to make traps and how to evade don’t just make one bug out bag make two or three make certain sounds with group to communicate as far as guns I have a couple 22s and a shotgun 22s are easier to carry both bullets and gun only use guns as a last resort bows spears or even traps are your best friend for staying silent

  14. I am looking to relocate with the desire for isolation. I would like a region lacking temperature extremes and with more conservative political ideology. I’m currently in Texas and wish a cooler climate but not the other end of the spectrum like Alaska. Married with 8 kids, so a place that can sustain. Fertile soil a must! Do you have any areas in mind, that I can research?

  15. How is yhe grayman theory used can it be used similar to a scout

  16. Samantha says

    Is anyone in Washington state. New mom who is really out of shape but wants to be able to protect her baby.

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