SHTF – The Beginners Guide for Preppers

Maybe you just finished watching the evening news and wonder what might happen tomorrow. Could it a terrorist attack on a major US city? Will solar weather take down the power grid? There are a myriad of bad things to ruin your day, week, month or year. The prepper community calls it SHTF, short for “shit hits the fan.”

Like many people, your paycheck does not stretch as far as it used to. In fact, you may have had a pay cut or have become unemployed. Before maxing out your credit card, take a breath and take stock of what disasters are most likely to happen in your town.



Air is the most immediate need you will face. Without it, you will die within three minutes. Unless there has been a biological, chemical or nuclear event in your neighborhood, you will probably plenty of it available. The good news is, air is still free.

Have a Gas mask or breathing apparatus in your bug out bag or near to hand for extra security.



Water is nearly as free as air and just as necessary. It is an essential prep item and without it, you and your loved ones will die in three days. Unfortunately, your water supply is not as reliable as your air supply, so this is another prep item you need to plan for. Fortunately, it is very easy to lay in a supply of stored water without spending money.

The easiest way to do this is to save clear plastic bottles and jugs after you have drunk their contents. Wash them thoroughly in hot soapy water, rinse and sanitize them with a weak bleach solution. A few drops of unscented chlorine bleach diluted in a gallon of water is sufficient.

Fill them to their tops with tap water. There is enough chlorine in city water supplies to keep it safe and potable. Make a note on your calendar to empty and refill them with fresh water every six months. New Year’s Day and the Fourth of July are easy-to-remember dates.

White plastic milk jugs and ones that have previously contained household cleaning supplies and chemicals are not suitable for water storage. The best containers will have something like “PET” or “PETA” stamped into the plastic on their bottoms.

Government preparedness guidelines once advised storing one gallon per day per person but have revised this to “the more, the better.” The bare minimum is two gallons per day, but five or more give you a wider safety margin. Water gets spilled in the best of times. In the worst of times, this may become a matter of life and death.

Store more water if there are babies, young children and elderly adults at your house. They become dangerously dehydrated more quickly than healthy adults. Do not forget your pets.

Better still invest in a a water filter.

Preppers - Water



Next, you and your family need a snug and weatherproof shelter. During inclement weather, you will survival about three hours without it. Now is the time to take care of all those minor household repairs you have been putting off. Check the locks on outside doors and all windows, and replace any that seem worn or flimsy. A few dollars’ worth of repairs ahead of time is worth several thousand afterward.

During emergencies, local authorities may advise residents to shelter in place, more commonly known as staying indoors at home. There is always a possibility that you could lose your home or apartment due to weather, fire or some other disaster. Now is the time to plan ahead.

If you have friends or family members who live nearby, discuss with them what you would do if someone’s home were destroyed. This is a two-way street. If you plan to go their house if yours is lost, be prepared to return the favor if a friend finds himself in the same situation.

After a widespread disaster, such as a tornado or flood, most of the homes in your town may be destroyed or uninhabitable. An inexpensive but good name-brand emergency tent can be your friend. These can often be found used on eBay, in thrift shops or at garage sales for surprisingly little money. If you need to shelter three people, buy a six-man tent; for four, an eight-man tent, etc. The additional space will be needed to store bedding, clothing and other supplies.



A healthy adult can live about three weeks without food. As a beginning prepper, you might think that those cases of dehydrated foods or COMBAT RATION are your only option. They do provide a sense of security, but you will not need them to get through a long power outage, a bad weather event or a terrorist-induced economic shutdown.

Break the habit of running to the supermarket every day to pick up tonight’s dinner or to purchase a pantry staple you have run out of. Get out Grandma’s vintage cookbook and learn to cook from scratch. Cook a double recipe of your family’s favorite casserole, serve one half for dinner and tuck the other half away in the freezer.

Your best friend is a well-stocked pantry full of quality canned foods; bulk items such as rice, beans and pasta; seasonings and baking products. Buy foods that you and your family enjoy as part of your usual diet. Choose easy-to-prepare comfort-food items such as macaroni-and-cheese dinners, beef stew, soups, chili, etc. These require little or no complicated preparation, little cooking fuel and very little water.

A Few Other Considerations for Preppers

Battery-powered lamps and Solar Power Bank, lanterns, more batteries than you think you will ever need, or oil lamps with extra wicks and plenty of lamp oil will keep up morale during a blackout. Stay on top of your household laundry so that you do not run out of clean clothes at the worst possible time. Keep your car’s gas tank at least half full at all times.

Where to Start

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The Essential Preppers Checklist for Beginners

Surviving a potentially world-ending scenario is on the back of a lot of people’s minds nowadays. It is not pleasant to think about, but you need to know what to do in such a situation. In this post, we will talk about the broad, basic preppers checklist for what you need to have to be prepared for what is called a SHTF situation. The checklist will contain things that you need to think about so that you will have your bases covered. If you work through the list, you will be ready for anything the world can throw at you.

Preppers Checklist - SHTF Survival Gear

Bugout Bag

The first thing you need is a bugout bag, which is sometimes also called a 72-hour bag. That name gives away the bag’s purpose. It is meant to be a backpack or duffel bag that contains everything that you would need to survive for three days alone without any other resources. Someone should be able to drop you in the middle of nowhere and if you have your bugout bag, you will be fine for three days. The bag exists in case a sudden, unexpected catastrophe or disaster forces you to need to depend on yourself. Many people store their bugout bag at home, while others put it in the car. The bag should contain things like water, canned food, clothes, tools, and other essentials for life. Be sure to have seasonally appropriate weather and insect gear. There are lots of backpacks that have special features, like water pouches and special compartments for knives and Compass. You might need to occasionally refresh your bugout bag with new food and tools in case you find better things to put in there or the old ones go bad. You also want to test-wear it to see if it is comfortable.



Once you have your bugout bag all stocked up and ready for use, you need to think about a shelter. There are two schools of thought on this. The first one involves placing a shelter in or near your home. For example, you could dig a bunker in your backyard or reinforce your basement. You need a space that can keep you safe in any situation and can hold a lot of supplies. That potentially includes the threat of a nuclear exchange and radioactive material in the area. The other school of thought is to get a shelter far away. This kind of shelter might be something like a remote cabin. These shelters are harder to use because it takes time to reach them, but they lay the ground for long-term survival better. This is because you have a good opportunity to farm and you can fortify the area. Marauders are also less likely to find you. It is a tradeoff between short-term and long-term safety, and you likely do not have enough funds to develop two strong shelters, so you will need to choose which one is better for your situation.


Preppers Checklist Plan

The next thing you need is a specific and detailed plan, full of contingencies for various events. When the worst happens, things will start to happen quickly. You won’t have time to think through every decision and consider it from all angles. Having a plan will help you know what to do in advance, without having to worry about thinking through every possible case. Essentially, you do all the thinking in advance, and condense it into one plan that has some overall goals, like reaching shelter. The plan can have different triggers that set it in motion, as well as different guidelines for various hazards. In addition, the plan does not need to be ironclad. There is still some room for adapting on the spot. The plan is just there to give you a default starting point for every decision, which speeds up your process of thinking significantly. Try to imagine anything and everything that can happen, then develop a response that will keep you and your family safe. Have a few general goals, but be flexible about how you achieve them. Try to be detailed when you can and periodically review your plan to make sure that it makes sense.


Long-term Supplies and Skills

The last thing you need to do on your checklist is start building up a supply of things that will last. This includes both physical goods, like canned food, bottled water, First Aid Kit and tools as well as mental skills that you will need in an apocalyptic scenario. For example, you can learn self-defense to protect yourself in dangerous situations. You should probably also spend some time learning farming and/or hunting so that you can keep yourself and your dependents alive. There are many examples of both physical and intangible supplies that you will need, and they all take a long time to acquire. It will take a real time investment if you want to be truly ready, and that means that the time to start is now. Slow and steady wins the race, and it is important not to rush stocking up and do something wrong. Just be patient about it and keep working for as long as it takes to get yourself into a position where you feel comfortable, and don’t share the location of your supplies with too many people.

If you go through these four items and follow up with all of them, then you will be in good shape as far as preparations go. The key is that you need to be ready for anything, and these items give you flexibility. Devote as much time and energy as you feel is appropriate to each item on the list, but make sure you give them careful attention. All of this is supremely important to your safety. Remember that this is not a one and done checklist: keep revisiting each point and evaluate your readiness. That is the best way to stay safe.

The Essential Preppers Checklist for Beginners