The Couch Prepper, by J.S.

There are many types of preppers, including the couch prepper. How many of us “preppers” have sat behind a computer screen and researched the newest and greatest AR-15 accessory that will ensure our survival for the coming “collapse”? I’m sure most faithful readers of this site have put into practice some form of prepping. Maybe that means you have bought a few extra cans of food or purchased that first firearm and some ammo to go along with it.

Or maybe you fall in to the camp of focusing on a certain aspect of prepping (i.e. that amazing gun collection you have now). Some have the “I have 3,000 rounds of ammo and I am going to live off the land” mentality. Possibly you are completely self-sufficient and are prepared for any number of different scenarios. But in reality, I am willing to bet the average prepper is somewhat like myself.

Being the Average American

I am the average American with the stereotypical wife, two kids, and very modest income. I fully believe that the TEOTWAWKI awaits us in the not so distant future. My bet is that it comes in the form of an economic collapse, but others predict some type of natural disaster or health pandemic. And like others, while I believe the collapse is imminent and unavoidable, I try to balance my prepping mentality with that of carrying on a “normal” way of living.

I don’t want to spend every single dime of discretionary income I have on bullets, beans, and band aids. I am constantly trying to find the balance between adding to my preps and providing my family with as many of their desires as is fiscally appropriate. The beach vacation will not be skipped  to add six month’s worth of freeze-dried food to my larder. With all of that said, that leaves what I believe is a large group of people, myself included, in the “somewhat prepared” stage.

Somewhat Prepared

Even being in the “somewhat prepared” stage, there are still ways that you can add to your preps and not break the bank. The purpose of this article is not to give you a step-by-step guide of how you should prep and for what. Rather it is to challenge you to analyze your own preparedness.

You don’t have to be the active homesteader but also don’t be like me and fall into being a “couch prepper”. That is to say you buy some basic supplies from the comfort of your couch, store them in a closet or garage, and never think about them again. You check an item off a mental list, but you really have no actionable plan in place to finish your preps and implement your day-to-day survival plan. Having stuff is great and probably makes you more prepared than most, but it likely just provides a false sense of security. When the SHTF, do you really know what to do with your stuff? Do you have a plan to make the most of what you have?

Self Checking

Before writing this article, I had to do some self checking. Over the past couple of weeks some articles that I’ve read on SurvivalBlog and the current events have spurred me into really assessing my preps and plans. I have the very basic minimum of supplies to be “prepared”. So I sat down and started to make my own version of the “list of lists”. What I quickly realized is how truly lacking my plan and supplies were. I had some supplies but really no plan.

My Bugging In Scenario

I started writing out two different scenarios: Bug in vs. Bug out. Each started to present its own challenges. If I plan to bug in, what does my plan look like? What are my first steps in bugging in? I live in a neighborhood, so do I consult with neighbors about my plan? Whom do I trust? Better yet, at what point do I say it is so bad that I am battening down the hatches and digging in? For me, what triggers that event? If “x” happens that is the last straw and we are now “bugging in”. Now that I’ve made that decision do I have a plan already in place to determine what restrictions I place on my family?

How many meals are we eating a day? How much water are each of us allowed to consume? If the grid is down, how many candles do we light and at what duration are they allowed to burn? Do I have a plan in place for security? Do I plan on allowing my wife to pull some type of guard duty? Would she even be effective? As I started to war game this scenario, my page of ideas began to grow and grow to where I realized I really had no plan for bugging in.

Sure, over the past couple of years I have thought, “Well, if things look like that they will rebound relatively soon, we can just stay where we are.” This is what I call the couch prepper mentality. Yeah, I’ve got some beans, bullets, and band-aids, so we’re good, right? Clearly this mentality gives no real consideration to what even two weeks of bugging in would look like.

My Bugging Out Scenario

What about bugging out? Following the couch prepper mentality, I would say, “Sure, grab the guns and bug out bags and let’s go to ‘X’.” Will it really be that easy? When it comes down to packing the vehicles to leave for what could be forever, am I truly prepared for that scenario? First, we have two vehicles. Are we taking both of those? If so, are both children riding in the same vehicle? What about supplies? What do we deem to be essential and what do we more or less throw away? If we need to bug out quickly, a plan needs to be in place so that we can avoid making a stressful situation even more so.

Okay, now we have a decision on vehicles and everything is packed. Which route do we take? Given the current situation is it safe to take major highways? What if the interstate or major highway is blocked? What if part of the route is blocked due to whatever scenario has caused you to bug out? Are both vehicles full of gas? Is it safe or even possible to stop for gas? Can we make it to the destination on one tank of gas? Do I even know of another way to get to the destination? If so, have I planned and calculated the distance and how much gas it would take?

At Our Bug Out Location

Once arriving at the destination, what steps from the bugging in plan above do I need to implement? Are we living with others or are we in a remote location with just our family? If bugging out, have I prepositioned the majority of our supplies at my bug out location? Have I given consideration to the length of our stay? If we are staying with others, who is in charge? Are we at the mercy of our hosts’ plans?

Depending on your bug out destination, your plans and prep questions may be different. You have to ask yourself if you’ve given realistic thought as to what your plan would look like given the event you have to leave your primary residence.

Making Plans

You may say, “But there is no way I can plan every detail as to what I am going to do in the event of a collapse.” I say you are absolutely right. There are literally thousands of different scenarios that can play out when bugging in or out. I barely even scratched the surface of questions that you should be asking yourself concerning your plan for “x” scenario. There is no way that you can possibly war game and plan for each accordingly, but what you can do is come up with a plan for each and start to think through the implications. This will likely give you a better direction on where to focus your time, energy, and money.

Striving To Be Opposite of the Couch Prepper

What I am now striving to be is the opposite of the couch prepper. Like most, I cannot afford the tier 1 tactical weapons training, nor can I afford to stock a 10-year supply of food. But what I can do is create a solid plan for both bugging in and bugging out. This will aid in addressing the holes in my preps and will help me to solidify the areas in which my plan and supplies are lacking. What I lack in actual training, maybe I can try to make up for in knowledge.

There are numerous articles archived on this website by experts who can help address specific prepping questions. What I don’t want to happen is for the collapse to happen and all I have are supplies with no plan in place to efficiently use those supplies. Hopefully, this spurs some of SurivivalBlog’s faithful readers to get off the couch and really develop a plan for whatever scenario that they are prepping.

SurvivalBlog Writing Contest

This has been another entry for Round 72 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The nearly $11,000 worth of prizes for this round include:

First Prize:

  1. A $3000 gift certificate towards a Sol-Ark Solar Generator from Veteran owned Portable Solar LLC. The only EMP Hardened Solar Generator System available to the public.
  2. A Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate. This can be used for any one, two, or three day course (a $1,195 value),
  3. A course certificate from onPoint Tactical for the prize winner’s choice of three-day civilian courses, excluding those restricted for military or government teams. Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795,
  4. DRD Tactical is providing a 5.56 NATO QD Billet upper. These have hammer forged, chrome-lined barrels and a hard case, to go with your own AR lower. It will allow any standard AR-type rifle to have a quick change barrel. This can be assembled in less than one minute without the use of any tools. It also provides a compact carry capability in a hard case or in 3-day pack (an $1,100 value),
  5. An infrared sensor/imaging camouflage shelter from Snakebite Tactical in Eureka, Montana (A $350+ value),
  6. Two cases of Mountain House freeze-dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources (a $350 value),
  7. A $250 gift certificate good for any product from Sunflower Ammo,
  8. Two cases of Meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of (a $180 value).

Second Prize:

  1. A Model 175 Series Solar Generator provided by Quantum Harvest LLC (a $439 value),
  2. A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training, which have a combined retail value of $589,
  3. A gift certificate for any two or three-day class from Max Velocity Tactical (a $600 value),
  4. A transferable certificate for a two-day Ultimate Bug Out Course from Florida Firearms Training (a $400 value),
  5. A Trekker IV™ Four-Person Emergency Kit from Emergency Essentials (a $250 value),
  6. A $200 gift certificate good towards any books published by,
  7. A pre-selected assortment of military surplus gear from CJL Enterprize (a $300 value),
  8. RepackBox is providing a $300 gift certificate to their site, and
  9. American Gunsmithing Institute (AGI) is providing a $300 certificate good towards any of their DVD training courses.

Third Prize:

  1. A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21 (a $275 value),
  2. A custom made Sage Grouse model utility/field knife from custom knife-maker Jon Kelly Designs, of Eureka, Montana,
  3. A large handmade clothes drying rack, a washboard, and a Homesteading for Beginners DVD, all courtesy of The Homestead Store, with a combined value of $206,
  4. Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy (a $185 retail value),
  5. Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security, LLC,
  6. Mayflower Trading is donating a $200 gift certificate for homesteading appliances,
  7. Montie Gear is donating a Y-Shot Slingshot and a $125 Montie gear Gift certificate.,
  8. Two 1,000-foot spools of full mil-spec U.S.-made 750 paracord (in-stock colors only) from (a $240 value), and

Round 72 ends on September 31st, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical “how to” skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.


  1. Get out and garden. It is not as easy as it would seem. Go to the range. Hitting what you intend is nine tenths of the battle. Learn and practice starting fires a half dozen ways. Learn about radio so you can talk to your friends. Without friends you are out of luck. Keep your faith. Without that, all is lost. Doing will point to the holes in your plan.

    1. Here here on all of the above. “Stuff” may be important, but KNOWLEDGE is MORE important. It’s also your most “transportable” asset, being weightless and taking up zero space.

      An FYI for the “If the SHTF, I’ll just plant a garden” types: Gardening is NOT as easy as it seems! Keeping things like chickens and meat rabbits isn’t as easy as it seems! There’s a HUGE learning curve, especially on the gardening end of things. If the SHTF, and you’re not ahead of that curve, your DEAD; plain and simple! Start learning these skills NOW! Even if your “garden” is a couple of pots on the balcony, or a couple of raised beds on a suburban postage stamp lot, you’ll be light years ahead of the rest, should this skill be called to task.

      1. I totally agree with you. I have had a garden for seven years and the first couple years were not so good. It takes time to condition the soil, to learn what things grow best in your area, and how many plants you need of each variety to actually provide long-term food supplies. And then you have to learn how to preserve your harvest. I have learned how to can vegetables and meat (I have both a boiling water and a steam canner), with supplies of jars and new lids, plus I have a big freezer. Nearly all of our meat comes from local farmers (within five miles)… but those preps took several years to put into place. I have developed relationships with those farmers and have helped them out a bit, and in return, they have helped me.

        I am raising chickens for eggs, and they are easy, but not simple (there is a difference). I got them through an Upstate NY winter, which took some thinking and effort. My latest project is a beehive, and that is slowly coming on line. I will not get honey this year, maybe next year, because the hive needs to grow and become mature before I can take honey out (honey is bee food, after all).

        Things take time, and more time than you may think. It has to be started now, rather than waiting for things to go bad.

  2. JS,
    Excellent points! You are absolutely correct: “The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry”. The Survival Blog archive is a fantastic reference library. When you have time, please search the following post:
    “The Unrealistic Mentality of the Modern Survivalist, by Bryan R.”
    Although written in 2011, this post is timeless in my opinion. Good luck to you in your future planning.

  3. Congratulations on your heightened awareness, congratulations on your personal honesty and superb level of integrity. I suggest that you, and your entire immediate family watch, study, and discuss the Wendy DeWitt food storage / planning website, just do a google search for a great list of information sources, type in “Wendy Dewitt food” and google will take you there. Suggest that try to involve your children, in planning and decisions. You are a treasure all by yourself.

  4. After 31 years of actively preparing, I’m always concerned about the folks that say their family’s survival is the most paramount thing but they skimp and cut corners.

    No, watching some youtube videos on weapons manipulation is not going to cut it. No, just going to an Appleseed event and your state’s required 4 hour CCW class is not enough for surviving violence.

    Yes you actually need to plan, budget for and take some serious tactical training. Even 1 decent class a year, followed by your regular diligent practice of what you learned will better you when the time comes.

    Most “preppers” have a safe full of guns, many, many more than they have HANDS for. Yet they skimp on training, complain about the price of ammo and worry more about how much ammo they HAVE versus how much ammo they use in training.

    If something ever does happen, the guy that has spent the time, money and ammo developing TRUE SKILL AT ARMS is going to be much more worthwhile than some dude that just has a bunch of locker queen rifles he probably is not that familiar with. In the first case, that person will truly be dangerous to his enemies. In the second case, once that person is rolled up, his pristine weapons (from lack of use) will up arm the raiders or gang that whacked him out.

    Safety comes from the SKILL AT ARMS, not just having the arms….

    Certain things you can skimp on, training is not one of them.

  5. 1) TEOTWAWKI is just one outcome and not even the most likely one. We have the massive resources of the US government devoted to avoiding it — although they make mistakes and WWI/WWII show they can fail.

    2) In 1979 Mel Tappan rebooted the survivalist movement. (Mel did not create the survivalist movement –early in the Cold War in the 1940s, Robert Heinlein had already urged people to move out of the cities, lay in a food supply , medical supplies, firearms, etc. )

    3) But anyone who followed Mel to the Rogue River area of Oregon took a vow of poverty — unless they did like Mel and married a wealthy heiress. (What some would call making a living the hard way.)

    4) In 2000, household income for Grants Pass, Oregon was $29,197 and 35% of the population was below the poverty line.
    5) Contrast that with the many millionaires who moved to New York City in 1979 and went to work on Wall Street. Yes, NYC could have been nuked in the Cold War — but if that ever looked likely one could be 500 miles away within a few hours.
    6) A more likely threat than TEOTWAWKI for many Americans is death from poverty — which comes in many forms. Lack of medical care. Continuous Stress from unpaid bills. Violent attack because they have to live in a high crime low income area.
    7) Don’t let survivalism become an escape from addressing immediate, near term problems. Make plans and lay in supplies, yes. If in a city have plans to evacuate to the countryside — it is impossible to defend suburb homes with firearms because of the suburban sheep mentality.

    8)But also save money and consult with a good fiancial planner on how to invest your savings.
    9) Be sure to fasten your seat belt when you drive your car — every car that passes you may have some texting idiot who may swerve into your lane without warning and hit you head on. 40 MPH plus 40 MPH = hitting a stone wall at 80 MPH.
    10) Around Mel Tappan’s time, Harry Browne had an approach to investing that can be applied to life as well. Separate your money into two piles: One for risking in speculation (what some call investing) and one pile that must be preserved no matter what happens. Invest the latter pile into what Harry called the Permanent Portfolio — 25% cash, 25% gold, 25% Long term Treasuries, 25% stocks.

    11) So invest in survivalism –but also invest in prosperity. Prepare for war — also prepare to exploit peace. And remember that Mel Tappan died not from fighting some urban horde but from stepping on a broken drinking glass in a swimming pool.

  6. Good article. Thanks for sharing it with us.
    With regards to not being able to afford “Tier 1 tactical weapons training”, WRONG.

    You make an effort NOT to skip the beach vacation. Make an effort to get TACTICS training. Weapons training will come with that.

    The only place I have found that will teach Small Unit Tactics to civilians is Max Velocity Tactical.

    Please check them out. It is about protecting your family, not going to the beach.

  7. Most of us definitely don’t have the disposable income to be completely covered under what may happened. All you can hope for is that you have done enough and be mentally prepared enough when it does happen.

  8. To me the armchair prepper is the person with a few staples and a great deal of random knowledge. To move beyond that a serious person should start to think about TIME. Meaning if you start NOW with no further time to prepare how long can you make it by yourself? (you and youe family)
    1. Water. You turn the faucet handle and nothing comes out, figure 4 people at 1 gallon a day, how prepared are you. Of course is you can access water without someone elses help and filter that, then the need is met. If you need to drive to the source, the gasoline you have may determine how much water you have. Keep in mind that open water sources may be too contaminated to use.
    2. Food. Without access to a store, how long would you last? Dry stored foods are an excellent prep and easy to keep, but if a part is in a freezer then we have a problem. You will either need to run a generator to keep it frozen or know how to preserve it and have the proper supplies for that. If you choose a generator, fuel again becomes an issue.

    Now compare 1 and 2, how many days, weeks, months do you have? Keep in mind the lower number is the correct answer. Now as you move from couch prepping forward, increase that TIME to a more comfortable number.

    Shelter is the next logical prep, if you pay monthly for your house then you may need enough to make those payments, currency is a crucial prep that many wait far too long to start, but I’m getting on.

    Good luck.

  9. All good information. We all have to evaluate where we are and what we are prepared to do on an ongoing basis.

    I’d still consider the tactical training from a realistic trainer, for the price of a case of ammo (of which we all have several right) you can get good hands on realistically scenario training. All the folks in your household should at least be trained on whatever handgun and rifle platform you decided on. Take time to work out security plans and drill them. We even do fire drills. Here on the East coast has one of the best operations going. Great staff and onsite accommodations, very realistic instruction, as in you won’t just be doing mag dumps and dancing around on a square range. I think he does classes on the road too and some West coast. Something to consider.

  10. We’re ready, pull the plug. Moved way out 7 years ago. Nearly self sufficient from what I can produce on my own land. Plenty grub and water stored away. What I can’t produce I can live with out. Garden on a big scale and can on a big scale. Hunt and can meat on a large scale. Have a shallow well and am ready to convert to a hand pump if I have to. Two wood burning stoves in the house and one in the shop and at least three years of wood ready to go.
    I have three trucks that should survive an EMP, two gassers and a diesel.
    Been a competitive shooter of several disciplines for 37 years, even tied a national record. Been hunting on my own for 51 years. Got the guns, got the ammo, got the reloading equipment and components and know how to use them and use them all the time. I have a range on my own property.
    Talking and reading about all of this is fun and interesting. Actually doing something NOW is your best bet.
    If it all falls apart and my wife and I get killed by an overwhelming force of migrant thugs all I can say is we’ve had a great life. We’re both in our early 60’s and have no regrets, We’re hoping the good Lord keeps an eye on us.

    1. Excellent post Brooksy. You pretty well nail it as to necessary preps. Most of us can only aspire to your level of preparedness, but you certainly set the bar to a level we can admire and strive toward. Thanks.

      1. Just a way of life for us. I was raised by parents who gardened and canned in a big way. My parents also had a nice orchard of many different types of fruit tress, also grapes. I also have continued this tradition as well. My Pops handed me a Winchester M1906 .22 when I was 9 and his only instructions were “don’t do anything stupid”. I supplied many meals with squirrels and rabbits plus what ever I could catch fishing. I was in 4H and raised rabbits and chickens which also ended up on the table. It was just a way of life back then and I have just continued on up to this day. I must give my wife credit for things like the hand pump for the well and the scope of our “preparedness” in general. She has always kept her eye towards the future and what may happen. If it wasn’t for her I’d probably would have just spent my time in the tavern…….
        My best advice is get the heck out of town, you won’t stand a chance there unless by some miracle you have neighbors you can trust and depend on and they are prepared as well. I have run into a brick wall as far as neighbors go, the farmers around me laugh their butts off at the smallest hint that things are going to go down hill one day. The attitude around here is tall corn and sunshine for ever. Most of them ask me why we work so hard in the garden, after all, all that stuff can be bought at the grocery store…..yeah, right.

  11. Thank you for sharing. Having various types of provisions stashed away for the rainy day is a good start. But, just like the article states, actual “self-checking” will begin to expose possible shortfalls of the plan that has been “set” in place.
    Whether you are planning on bugging in or out, there are parallels in each option which must not be over looked. The parallels lie in the tactical training and individual weapon skills.
    What good is the stored food and other supplies, if you don’t know how to protect them?
    What good will bugging out bring, if the bugging out party cannot move tactically through dangerous territory?
    We don’t know, what we don’t know. Therefore, tactical training outside of the square range is a crucial part of the successful plan, which will give you a chance to get through the unexpected. Very affordable Tier 1 training can be obtained at the MVT (Max Velocity Tactical). Read the reviews about what you could learn from them on their website, and then “Self-Check” your tactical side of the planning, otherwise, your provisions will be a great re-supply point for the folks who did not overlook the “tactical know how”.
    This type of training is available still…. but the hammer is still up high in the air, and no-one knows exactly when it will drop.

  12. Great article overall and thanks for sharing.

    As some others have also already pointed out and I would like to reinforce there is great tactical weapons training available at a reasonable cost with

    “What I don’t want to happen is for the collapse to happen and all I have are supplies with no plan in place to efficiently use those supplies. Hopefully, this spurs some of SurivivalBlog’s faithful readers to get off the couch and really develop a plan for whatever scenario that they are prepping.”

    Exactly and more than a plan you need training and time using this gear. The best way to learn if your plans are viable is to get out and train with your gear. Even with entry level classes, you will quickly learn what will work best for you and what will not.

  13. I’ll chime in on Tactical training. Having attended MVT training at both the home base in WV and out in Idaho this spring I can say it’s well worth it. Small unit tactics up to squad level and now TacGun(fun competition stressing tactical fitness and other skills). Visit Max’s website at…plenty of good information there. I also recommend his book “Contact”.

  14. Who do I trust in my neighborhood? Start making friends, find out who has things I common? Are there three or four around you that can come together as a small force to help protect your neighborhood? How about your church friends there? If you all can’t afford training may be you pick the best one or two with some skills, mindset, or leadership ability, and all pitch in to send them, or him/her to get training. They can now come back and share the information and train together. MVT teaches small unit tactics. That’s what you need. The lone family, from a historical perspective will not make it. You need a tribe, and you need to be able to operate together.

  15. I believe it’s good to make plans & sometimes very detailed. But it’s impossible to predict the future. Thus we need some flexibility & ability & willingness to adjust our plans.

    1. The key word in your comments, for me, is ‘plans’. I am a couch prepper, and I have no plan to be flexible with. It is true that ‘the best laid plans of mice and men gang aft agley’, so that’s why there should be a plan B as well. And a plan C, etc. Boy, that sounds good; I’d better get cracking. Off the couch.

  16. Being able to stay alive is your most valuable prep. You will need training for that. Forego prepping the list of lists and instead save for training. Others have already mentioned Max Velocity Tactical…

  17. Have you actually considered what you would do with your AR-15 once you have that “newest and greatest AR-15 accessory” installed? If not, your accessorized rifle is not going to “ensure” the survival of you or your family when SHTF. I get the summer vacation – happy wife, happy life. I know all too well the expense involved with keeping 3 kids busy with healthy activities – mountain bike racing, dance classes, soccer, and baseball, BUT…if you want to consider yourself even “somewhat prepared”, you should probably put less emphasis on the average, somewhat-prepared lists and plans, and attend some “tier-1 tactical weapons training. Because until you do, you don’t even know what it is you don’t know, and having a tricked-out AR-15 and some ammo will do you no good. Attending a couple of classes offered by Max Velocity Tactical at the Velocity Training Center, in WV, allowed me to see the light. Now, at least, I know where I need to be…and that’s back at VTC for some more study and training.

    1. Great point. I maybe should’ve mentioned that I have a background in law enforcement. Of course there is always knowledge to be gained. Like you I try to balance everything in my life and maybe one day I can save enough money to attend a MVT or similar course. After all debt is dumb and cash is king!

  18. I would like to thank everyone for their comments and suggestions. This is what makes survivalblog so invaluable. As many have suggested I will look into Max Velocity Tactical.

  19. Congrats on taking many steps in the right direction.

    Your statement “There are many types of preppers, including the couch prepper. How many of us “preppers” have sat behind a computer screen and researched the newest and greatest AR-15 accessory that will ensure our survival for the coming “collapse”?”

    Is unfortunately true for most “Preppers”

    “Like most, I cannot afford the tier 1 tactical weapons training,”

    Don’t fall into the mental trap that you “can’t” or “Can’t afford” to do something like Tier 1 Tactical training.

    As was stated above, knowledge is more important than gear.

    Your statement about being an average working joe that goes to the beach on vacation leads me to believe that you CAN afford tactical training.

    A 4 day crawl, walk, run class costs 900$ plus 1.5K ammo (500$) and whatever your travel expenses are.

    So, travel, camping and eating PB&J you are looking at around 2,000$ for the class.

    2k sounds daunting, but start breaking it down into bite size pieces.

    Taking the family out to eat once a month at a chinese buffet 720$ per year.

    So, I don’t know your particular situation and the above is just a suggestion. Just make sure that your “Can’t afford” isn’t an excuse for “I want to spend money on other stuff.”

  20. Stuff is good but without real knowledge of how to use it properly and efficiently it’s a waste of your resources. Always, always, always have a plan to get good training with the stuff you have.
    Some of the training can be acquired cheaply. Beekeeping is a good example. Experienced beekeepers are always willing to share their knowledge with anyone interested for free.
    Some of the training is going to be more expensive. Others have mentioned MVT and that’s a good example. I’ll be training with Max soon and it’s not cheap but the AR would have been a waste of money without good training.

  21. Q: How do you eat an Elephant?

    Get started and then keep adding. Food for 1 for a week will soon turn into Food for 2 for a month…and then 3 months…and then a year.

    A: One bite at a time.

  22. Competitive shooting gives you great hands on training with the firearms you own. I’m not suggesting that actual tactical training isn’t probably the best but there are alternatives. Cowboy action shooting, three gun, Precision Rifle matches and F class matches have given me invaluable experience. Know your guns and know you capabilities.
    With out the above gun games I’d never be proficient with the guns that I own. I now have speed , accuracy and the ability to judge distance. Not bad skills to have. At my peak I was shooting 3 matches per month. Learned a lot about ballistics and reloading too!

  23. Good day Sir,

    As a personal letter to you,

    I would say have a destination and invest in land.

    Have a destination, even if it only an acre.

    Avoid the firefight.

    As for training on your platform. Practice carrying your unloaded gun.

    Drills, room clearing etc, even dry firing or preferably with a “SIRT” bolt, will greatly assist muscle memory, strength;and endurance.

    God bless,

  24. One of the biggest rules I see mentioned here on Survivalblog very often is “1 is none/2 is one”. This has helped me get stocked up faster as usually when I see something at a good price and just buy one, when I go back it is gone. When I had my well put in I also purchased a second well pump. The neighbors pump lasted 12 years with everyday use but my concern was where will I get a pump in 12 years and how much will it cost then if things go bad.

    My own rule about ammo has helped me thru those shortages we had during the obummer years. I keep stored 1000 rounds for every gun I have. Always had this rule so when friends were freaking out about ammo supply I just smiled and nodded. I buy more when I see it, at a good price but I don’t hunt for it. This has also saved me from buy other firearms in different calibers because I don’t want to stock up on a caliber that will only be useful in one weapon. So 4 9mm pistols, 4000 rounds packed up, I have extra for practice and rotate my stock as I need to. So having a 44mag revolver and lever action rifle I have 1 caliber for 2 different weapons and different uses.

  25. This has gone Sooooo way off course. We are talking about a couch prepper and it seems everyone is on board with $2000 in training for a weapon he probably doesn’t own.


    If you are a couch prepper and are getting off the couch, spend the 2k on food and water preps. If you need a self defense weapon get a shotgun and a couple boxes of OO buck. ($250)

    Stop talking over peoples heads when it isn’t necessary.

  26. Can’t argue with BS. He’s right. First things first.

    How many water filters do you have, and what varieties?
    How many radio’s do you have, enough to go around?
    How about medical supplies, like battle dressings, quickclot?
    Hows your couch potatoe library, like maybe a flash drive from Survival blogs library and a dedicated computer to access it, stuffed in aluminum, layered between a non conductive like the cheap grocery bags today? With the radio’s of course.

    I could go on, but these things are core items, long before one spends that money on Max. Local gun organizations, like Guns Save lives, are popping up that do two day of instruction for a few hundred dollars. That’s the inexpensive but highly functional course stream I’d suggest. First, then as time goes by and assets acrue, then do a Max level course, you’d gain more for your buck as well being much more familiar with your weapon and some level of tactics. Get in an IDPA league, shoot under pressure a bit.

    Many ways to do it inexpensively, and yes, UTUBE has great value. So be sure to visualize, as it is a great teaching/learning method.

    God bless, seems like we are at that point where all this is going to matter for some. Oh yah, bone up on nuclear survival, that’s time well spent on the net, and crucial for the library, along with some rad badges, etc…….. the paths to travel to be prepared are all but endless… collapse job of value, skills??????

  27. Of course if someone is just getting off the couch and starting with next to nothing prepardness-wise and they only have $2000 to spend, then training is going to come in last place behind getting the basics of food, water and water purification, medical supplies, sleeping bags and ground pads and tarps or tents, a stove and heating fuel, radios, flashlights, batteries, toliet paper, etc. together for simply being able to live day to day for what may be a long period of time.
    Some of the people posting here are folks who have the guns and the gear and some military or civilian training with weapons and have spent the time and money to take the top tier training at MVT.
    The MVT training is expensive, considering the total cost of everything – the class, the ammo, the associated gear and travel to and from Romney, WV. But not more so than with say a long weekend martial arts seminar, hunting trip or a cruise on a ship.
    The training is worth it if you can afford the time and money to take it. It’s just thrown up there as an option for people to consider who do carry a handgun or have an AR for self defense and can afford to take the training.
    You do need to have all the basic tactical loadout gear required and some knowledge of how to use it and to be in good physical shape for the training not to be a waste of your time and money.
    I think it’s worth it to at least check out his website at and his Youtube videos at
    At least consider reading Max Velocity’s book if you are not going to be able to go to MVT in Romney WV for his training:
    Contact!: A Tactical Manual for Post Collapse Survival

  28. forget about a fact arms chest. use your common sense now… Montana rancher is exactly on target, a prepper (you) who is mostly certain of a financial crash should follow those lines and start to immediately set aside $100 in nickels, dimes, and quarters, plus $1-200 in singles. then stop the money thing and go for the 12 ga with a pistol grip full stock. do $100 in oo buck and $100 in a lighter load that will not go through the walls of your home. get sams or walmart or costco 30 day r gallon food buckets – 2 per family member. then do bags of bulk beans and rice, get a 50 gal plastic barrow for water for each family member. go to google and type “wendy dewitt food” and learn lots quickest. spray together and work and plan as a full family!!! then if there is any left over money get some junk silver dimes and quarters… your buddy old bobbert

  29. Good article. Personally I don’t think SHFT will happen in my lifetime. That’s just my opinion. To me, prepping isn’t just about SHFT, it’s about life. It’s surviving a hurricane, ice storm or a layoff. It’s as much about IRA, 401k and gold/silver as it is about winter wheat and EMPs.

    Prepping can be overwhelming from a financial and emotional perspective. I think we all have tried to get friends onboard only to get “that look.”

    This is what I do, your mileage will vary. Every year I pick three skills, often similar and re enforcing each other:

    One is an “intro” skill. You know you want to learn it, and you are starting to research what you will need to do to learn and develop that skill.

    One is the “get the basics down” skill. This one you are actually practicing. You might be clueless, but you are making planned, specific and consistent work towards developing this skill.

    The last one is the “expert” skill. You already have the basics down, but there’s far more to learn and you are focused on getting their. Sometimes this expert stage can take many years, but I dedicate a specific year to focus on it.

    As an example here’s my list for this year.
    1. Getting the basics of ASL (sigh language)
    2. Learn and make solar power and battery backups
    2. Getting at least a General class, preferred Extra class, ham license and learn morse code to at least 18 wpm (goal 30).

    In the past, this list included canning, making good jerky, improvements to my shooting with specific goals.

    Oven if SHFT never happens, at least I learned a lot and had fun.

  30. I would like to reiterate. You need a community who are on the same page. You flying solo with your shotgun, with the wife in the basement protecting the kids, will not cut it. Please consider your relationships with your neighbors/ teammates/ fellow on board church members. There is strength in numbers. You have to sleep sometime. Build relationships as part of your preps.
    I’ll throw my little group out as an example.
    Me, retiredfirefighter emt. Carpenter, treeworker
    Buddy 1, welder, fabricator, hunter/ trapper
    Buddy2, FF, emt, gardener, meat processor
    buddy 3, master carpenter, spiritual leader
    Buddy4, hvac, very handy
    We all have different talents that make us more than we are separately.
    I hope this helps.

  31. 1) Big TEOTWAWKI has not happened in the past 100 years here in the USA. But little TEOTWAWKI hits people every day.

    2) There were 2,626,418 deaths in the USA in 2014. Center for Disease Control says Leading causes were:
    a) Heart Disease: 614,348 deaths, 23.4% of total
    b) Cancer: 591,700 deaths, 22.5%
    c) Chronic lower respiratory disease: 147,101, 5.6%
    d) Accidents: 135,928, 5.2%
    e) Strokes: 133,103, 5.1%
    f) Alzheimer’s: 93,541, 3.6%
    g) Diabetes : 76,488, 2.9%
    8) Flu/pneumonia: 55,227, 2.1%
    9) Kidney disease (result of diabetes?): 48,146: 1.8%
    10) Suicide: 42,826, 1.6%
    11) Septicemia: 38,940, 1.5%
    12) Liver disease, cirrhosis: 38,170, 1.5%
    13) High blood pressure: 30,221, 1.2%
    14) Parkinson: 26,150; 1.0%
    15) Penumonitis due to solids and liquids: 18,792; 0.7%
    16) All other causes: 535,737, 20.4%

    3) Looks like the old farts are doomed no matter what. Sitting on the couch with no exercise, stuffing your face with food, puffing on a cigarette and downing the whiskey also seems like bad moves. But then what is the
    point of surviving?

    4) The argument for guns is interesting. Overall homicide rate for USA is around 5 per 100,000 (but it is around 40-60 per 100,000 in some US neighborhoods —among the highest murder rates on the planet.)

    5) Nonetheless, the death rates for 25-34 year olds is 200 per 100,000 and 300 per 100,000 for 35-44 year olds (soars for higher age groups.) So bloodthirsty murders ain’t your biggest problem at the moment, unless you live in Camden, NJ.

    6) The number of homicides with firearms was 11,008 and another 4,864 homicides were done by other means than guns.

    7) Whereas the number of deaths by suicide with firearms was 21,386. A glass half empty or self-correcting problem, depending on how you look at it. Another 21,440 suicides were done by other means for a total of 42,826.

    8) In 2008, there were only 36,035 suicides — so we have had an increase of 7000 more dead Americans per year.

    9) It looks like this Obama Prosperity has killed far more people than Al Qaeda. 40,000 as a rough estimate.

    So why has the News Media done nothing but yell at Trump for the past year?

    10) Major causes of death by accident were car wrecks (35,398), Falls (31,959), accidental poisoning (heh heh) 42,032.
    So buckle your seat belt, don’t claim stairs while drunk and lock up the gun cabinet and rat poison if you quarrel with the wife.

  32. Good article and some great comments. Great ideas. Great points. There are so many “what if’s” that it is hard to prepare for literally everything. One says that training is key. What happens if you break your leg, did you train with one leg? Did you train for a nuclear fallout? You just can’t train for everything and every scenario. But be aware of as many things as possible and do your best to have as many contingent plans as you can. But don’t worry if you don’t have every scenario covered because it is just impossible to do so.

  33. I rotate to a different prep focus each month. This month it was food and water. Oct. will be medical. Nov. Tactical and weapons. Dec. Medical again. And so on. Rotation prevents burn out and boredom. Training time is all the time. Dry firing, disassembly,cleaning, checks for wear and tear. Put the ruck or the weighted vest on and go for a hike. Keep moving the subjects and the body, and never quit. There is always something to fix, inspect, improve or practice.That TV ain’t got nothing for you.

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