How to Begin Prepping and Disaster Planning

Are you aiming to be better prepared for catastrophes but don’t know about the right supplies or where to begin? This guide walks you through the basic steps and the most important things to buy as a prepper. When you’re done reading, you’ll be better prepared than most Americans.

Prepping in this day and age doesn’t only imply making fall out shelters in the backyard in the event of a nuclear war. It means being ready for the unknown as well as the unexpected. Being able to take care of your pets, your loved ones, and yourself when an unforeseen emergency arises on a local, personal, or global level.

Whether you’re expecting events like natural disasters, power outage, or long-term economic decline, it’s critical to begin prepping now – by common sense, if you want until you’re in that situation, you’re already on the losing end.

What you prep for definitely affects what supplies you stuck, and how much of them you stuck. For example, those getting ready for a societal collapse won’t find a Faraday Cage of much use. Nor prepping for a natural disaster with only a day’s worth of water storage would do much good to you.

All the events you could potentially prep for are so varied that it’s impossible to list them all in this post. However, the following are some of the most important emergencies to consider:

  • Hurricanes, hail storms, flash floods, and other weather-related events
  • Earthquakes
  • Prolong economic disasters
  • Power outage
  • Social unrest
  • Terrorism
  • Accidents

By doing a quick Google Search for each of these events, you can find out what it is like to experience them. It isn’t a requirement, but it’d be great if you could pull off some light drills with your family to ensure your reaction time is right and that you know what steps to take without being in a confused state of mind.

Supplies to Get

Once you’ve taken care of the previous steps, the next thing to worry about is your emergency stockpile or supply. These will come in handy regardless of the type of emergency. Of course, flooding and earthquakes can have long-lasting impacts, but a 72-hour emergency bug out bag/emergency supply kit is the absolute minimum you should have by your side if you’re just starting out. Stock the bag with:

Where to Buy
Augason Farms 30-Day Emergency Food Storage Supply 29 lb 4.37 oz 7 Gallon Pail
Tough Light LED Rechargeable Lantern - 200 Hours of Light from a Single Charge
Life straw Personal Water Filter
Esky Portable Emergency Radios Hand Crank Self Powered
yodo Lightweight 2 Person Camping Backpacking Tent With Carry Bag
Swiss Safe 2-in-1 First Aid Kit
North Mountain Gear Camo Ghillie Suit 3D Leaf With Zippers And Pockets Woodland Brown
Washable Dustproof Anti Dust Face Mask with 15 Extra Carbon 99% Filters
Eargasm High Fidelity Earplugs
2 PCS High Carbon Steel Hard IPOW Car Safety Hammer Escape Tool With Antiskid Seatbelt Cutter

1. Augason Farms 30-Day Emergency Food Storage Supply 29 lb 4.37 oz 7 Gallon Pail

If the thought of running out of food is stressing you out, consider investing in this emergency food container. The Augason Farms 30-Day Emergency Food Pail contains delicious quick-to-prepare meals for a single person for 30 days or can feed a family of four for a week. It offers 35 individual food pouches, 307 servings on the whole, and 54,670 calories in total. Emergency food includes banana chips, creamy chicken rice, maple brown sugar oatmeal, hearty vegetable chicken soup, and more. It’s emergency preparedness insurance with an extended shelf-life.

What makes it stand out?

It comes with a 30-day and 45-day meal planner that removes the guesswork out of meal preparation. The 45-day meal planner is an important element to help users spread their food across extra days.

2. Tough Light LED Rechargeable Lantern – 200 Hours of Light from a Single Charge

How do you prepare for a solar eclipse, or even worse, a power outage? With backup lighting, of course. The Touch Light LED Rechargeable Lantern lasts 50,000 hours and relies on the same USB charger as a smartphone does for a full charge. It has incredible power with a 6000mAh Li-ion battery and 400 super bright lumens. When not in use, the unit can hold a charge for nine months or more. Just charging it twice a year is all that’s needed to prepare it for an emergency. You get 16.6 nights of light from one charge (200 hours on low setting). Other emergency features include 526 hours of red hazard flashing and 265 hours of SOS beacon light. 

What makes it stand out?

The emergency lantern is made out of military-grade rubber and offers IPX-6 water resistance to help preppers survive in wet conditions. It can handle a 5-feet drop with no damage.

3. LifeStraw Personal Water Filter

Preppers could face a shortage of clean water as they move out of their homes to find shelter/reside in a safer location. However, you’re likely to see plenty of water sources along the way (think lakes, ponds, etc.). That said, most of these sources deliver water that’s contaminated with viruses, bacteria, heavy metal, etc. That’s where the LifeStraw Personal Water Filter comes in. It features a microfiltration membrane that removes 99.999999% of E.coli, salmonella and other waterborne bacteria. Also, it eliminates the tiniest microplastics you’d find in the environment (1 micron), along with achieving 0.2 microns of turbidity. Over its lifetime, the LifeStraw Personal Water Filter can provide 4,000 liters of safe and clean water with proper maintenance and use.

What makes it stand out?

The microbiological filter really does what it claims to do. All statements have been verified using standard testing procedures in laboratories by organizations such as ASTM, NSF, US EPA for water purifiers.

4. Esky Portable Emergency Radios Hand Crank Self Powered AM/FM/NOAA Solar Weather Alert Radio

When carriers switch off phone networks, you need a way to get in touch with your loved ones, as well stay updated with local news and weather updates. With an Esky Portable Emergency Hand Crank Self Powered Radio, you won’t be dependent on cellphone signals to achieve your purpose. It features an FM/NOAA/AM radio that keeps you updated with everything local, as well as a flashlight that offers 140 lumens of bright light. Also, it provides a kinetic hand crank for battery boosts when the odds are against the user. Once it’s 100% charged, it can offer seven continuous hours of radio.

What makes it stand out?

In addition to all the features mentioned above, the Esky Portable Emergency Radio offers 1000mAh lithium battery. While it isn’t enough to fully charge a MacBook, it can give your gadgets enough power for that all-important roadside assistance.

5. yodo Lightweight 2 Person Camping Backpacking Tent With Carry Bag

During a catastrophe/natural disaster, you might get caught up in a situation where you have to spent the night in a forest/on a road/ in the street. The yodo lightweight 2 people camping backpack tent is made for situations like these. It’s lightweight (weighs 3.3 lbs) and easy to carry with a backpack and includes 2-way zippers for easy use externally and internally. Also, the vendor has included a carrying for relocating camps and easy traveling. Finally, the doors of the yodo camping backpack tent have been screened against inserts, offering excellent view and ventilation.

What makes it stand out?

The tent is pretty easy to set up. Just flatten the tent, then assemble poles, insert them, fix them, fasten traps, insert stakes and then pop up the tent.

6. Swiss Safe 2-in-1 First Aid Kit (120 Piece) + Bonus 32-Piece Mini First Aid Kit

First aid kits are a must-have for any prepper. The Swiss Safe 2-in-1 first aid kit has 120 medical grade items in a sturdy design and weighs just 1.2 pounds. You’d find survival items, instant ice pack, trauma shears (stainless steel), and a mini first aid kit inside. The mini-first aid kit comes in a small pouch and includes sting relief pads, gauze, refill essentials, gauze, band-aids, and more. The whole kit is manufactured in FDA approved facilities that exceed standards for first aid care. The versatile mini first-aid kit and the main bag fit anywhere, including RV, motorcycle, glovebox, truck, auto, ATV, yacht, or jeep. Due to the presence of survival tools, the first aid kit also offers tactical preparedness.

What makes it stand out?

The kit offers a detailed 18-page first aid guide to help people correctly administer or provide first aid in a wide range of situations.

Learn Things That Are Free

Sometimes, when you’re just starting something new, you might prefer not to spend a lot of money until you start seeing some positive results. To that end, here’s a list of prepping-related things you can do for free.

  • Raise your endurance levels by doing at-home workouts.
  • Download and print local maps.
  • Figure out get home routes, roadblocks, exit routes, etc.
  • Design a survival lawn.
  • Take free first aid lessons.
  • Analyze all the food in your home and store the items with the longest shell live separately for bugging out.

Prepping in an Urban Setting

Because most prepping guides are solely focused on wilderness survival, urban preppers feel a little left out when it comes to no-fluff tips. That’s why we’re dedicating this whole section to city dwellers…to teach you how to begin prepping in an urban setting.

Specify A Rendezvous Point

What do you do if your property is not safe or is destroyed? Do you have a rendezvous location as a backup? Have you shared its address with your loved ones? When you’re trying to survive an urban disaster, you might not get the time to call your peers or family to arrange a talk. The grandparents might be at the public pool. Your partner may be running late to work across the neighborhood; you might be at the balcony of your apartment.

It’s better to plan and determine a rendezvous place. However, it has to be a memorable spot – this won’t work if everyone keeps forgetting where the backup location is. A famous street, hospital or someone’s garage (you trust) are all good options. Make sure everyone is made aware of this point and even practice a couple of drills to this spot.

Mark Emergency Routes for Evacuation

You need an emergency route assessment as part of your overall urban prepping plan. If you discover at some point that you have to leave your home and go somewhere else, you don’t want to keep thinking how you’re going to escape as you grab your emergency supplies during a natural catastrophe.

Before anything else, a successful escape plan requires preppers to get familiar with their territory. Ideally, you should start identifying points of interests and make notes for each of them. Your areas of evacuation-related interests should at least include these:

  • Go points (popular remote locations)
  • Water crossings
  • Town crossings
  • Places where an ambush could happen
  • Rail routes
  • Forest crossings
  • Border routes (if any)
  • Terrain Association Markers (objects or places like water towers that can help people figure out where they are once they’re on the ground).

In the end, you should look at each exit and analyze their starting and ending point as deeply as you can by using visualization, in-person operation and even virtual maps. This is how preppers usually prioritize their routes based on what they might come across along the way. You should at least figure out two possible escape routes for any given area. Try prioritizing the civilian friendly regions and avoid predicted risky paths.

Additional Supplies to Get

We’ve already mentioned what supplies you should get to start prepping. However, urban preppers have a need for additional essentials due to the complex situations they could find themselves in. More than the basic emergency supplies, the following items would give you a bit of an edge should you fall into chaos and have to go away from your home base.

7. North Mountain Gear Camo Ghillie Suit 3D Leaf With Zippers And Pockets Woodland Brown

You’ll want to be ready to travel between forests, wooded areas, river banks, and the roads at least once, and perhaps a couple of times if you need to. You’ll want to do this without attracting too much attention to yourself. That’s where a camo comes in. The North Mountain Gear Camo Ghillie Suit is practical for such environments. Unlike conventional suits, the ghillie camouflage is designed to keep you undetectable on the ground and in the tree by creating a 3D illusion that is equally effective in both long and close ranges. The pants come with sizeable front waist pockets and also feature zippers.

What makes it stand out?

In contrast to most traditional camo ghillie’s fit, this leafy suit is cut specially for the all year prepper. It fits great in the spring season while turkey hunting, with lightweight layers, as well as during the winter days of archery season where bulky base layers would be needed.

7. Washable Dustproof Anti Dust Face Mask with 15 Extra Carbon 99% Filters

It’s smart to get a dust mask as you might have to deal with debris and toxins. The mask is breathable and comfortable to wear. It has double air breathing valves. The masks are washable and reusable. Easy to put on and take off with an adjustable nose clip and earloops that prevent slipping.

What makes it stand out?

The item is reusable which is great for the environment. The mask also comes with 15 additional filters made with activated charcoal.

8. Eargasm High Fidelity Earplugs

If you want to make an urban bug out situation more bearable, get some earplugs. They’ll prevent the screams and other horrible sounds from reaching your ears, so you’d be able to entirely focus on helping others and going about with your evacuation plan. Eargasm’s earplugs are known to cut excess sound from buzzing environments. Its patent-pending attenuation filters also preserve sound quality while cutting noise evenly to offer a complete spectrum of sound while hearing remains protected. It won’t muffle voices or music like foam plugs end up doing. Buyers get two pairs of earplug shells (differently sized) with every purchase. The earplugs fit most large to standard years and can be easily removed with a tug on the pull tab that’s now 2x longer than competing brands.

What makes it stand out?

It features hypoallergenic soft silicone that’s comfortable and non-toxic for everyday wear. As a result, all-day wear won’t end up causing pain pressure or itching. Also, the item’s waterproof rubber seal secures them from debris, moisture, and dust.

9. 2 PCS High Carbon Steel Hard IPOW Car Safety Hammer Escape Tool With Antiskid Seatbelt Cutter, Life-Saving Emergency Glass/Window Punch Breaker Auto Rescue Disaster Hammer

During an urban disaster, you might find yourself in a situation where you’d have to break a window or a glass. That’s where this hammer escape tool with antiskid seatbelt cutter would come in handy. It has a practical design, with an integrated, anti-skid handle, double-sided tip head that’s made of carbon steel and a protective bracket. The item comes with two hammers so that you can share it with your friends and family. It’s also lightweight – 101.3 grams in total, so you can easily keep it in a glove compartment, armrest box, or door pocket. If you’re stuck in a car seat and can’t free yourself, you can use the hammer’s secure razor blade to cut yourself free.

What makes it stand out?

The hammer is incredibly durable and versatile. It can cut off seatbelts and shatter glass windows with ease. For best use, buyers are advised to fit strike all the edges of glass then smash it from the center.

Learn Situational Awareness

One urban prepping skill you really need to concentrate on and build is situational awareness. The decisions you make during scavenging and traveling will be based on how well you’ve honed your skills. Often it’s not the quickest or the most aggressive who makes it out safe, but the one who makes sound decisions based on what a scenario calls for.

The first kind of awareness pertains to your own positioning. Those who have experienced hostile environments should always stand/sit where they can have a clear view of entrances, and all the alternative exits that are available. The other type of awareness is about other people. Mostly, you should keep an eye out for details like:

  • Suspicious people
  • Fire exits
  • Escape routes
  • Other circumstances that might be relevant to the cause of concern for your security or the safety of any loved one you are with.

Think for a second: you have been on a train, and it stops in the middle of nowhere. What would be your first steps to survival?

  • Assess the effort level you should be making to get around without sweating.
  • Assess the weather to analyze how long would it take you to get thirsty.
  • Think about where would be coolest to work, away from the sun
  • Identify mountains that feed into rivers or thick trees – that’d be potential sources for water

When considering a more modern stance to situational awareness, you could analyze your surroundings and any strange happenings. Let’s say you are at a beach resort, and suddenly you see some out-of-place people make their way near you:

  • Are they wearing beach-themed clothing?
  • Are they carrying anything loose enough to conceal a gun?
  • Are they going around in a purposeful formation?

These cues could be the main difference between becoming a victim of an emergency or an early warning system that prompts you to leave the area before things turn awry.

Over to You

The key to beginning prepping is to take action and practice over and over again. The more often you practice for unforeseen events, the more confident you will be and feel. So why not set aside an hour or two per day to learn and put your skills to test?

The key to beginning prepping is to take action and practice over and over again. The more often you practice for unforeseen events, the more confident you will be and feel. So why not set aside an hour or two per day to learn and put your skills to test?