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.
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?
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.
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:
- 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.
- A Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate. This can be used for any one, two, or three day course (a $1,195 value),
- 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,
- 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),
- An infrared sensor/imaging camouflage shelter from Snakebite Tactical in Eureka, Montana (A $350+ value),
- Two cases of Mountain House freeze-dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources (a $350 value),
- A $250 gift certificate good for any product from Sunflower Ammo,
- Two cases of Meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of CampingSurvival.com (a $180 value).
- A Model 175 Series Solar Generator provided by Quantum Harvest LLC (a $439 value),
- 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,
- A gift certificate for any two or three-day class from Max Velocity Tactical (a $600 value),
- A transferable certificate for a two-day Ultimate Bug Out Course from Florida Firearms Training (a $400 value),
- A Trekker IV™ Four-Person Emergency Kit from Emergency Essentials (a $250 value),
- A $200 gift certificate good towards any books published by PrepperPress.com,
- A pre-selected assortment of military surplus gear from CJL Enterprize (a $300 value),
- RepackBox is providing a $300 gift certificate to their site, and
- American Gunsmithing Institute (AGI) is providing a $300 certificate good towards any of their DVD training courses.
- A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21 (a $275 value),
- A custom made Sage Grouse model utility/field knife from custom knife-maker Jon Kelly Designs, of Eureka, Montana,
- 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,
- Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy (a $185 retail value),
- Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security, LLC,
- Mayflower Trading is donating a $200 gift certificate for homesteading appliances,
- Montie Gear is donating a Y-Shot Slingshot and a $125 Montie gear Gift certificate.,
- Two 1,000-foot spools of full mil-spec U.S.-made 750 paracord (in-stock colors only) from www.TOUGHGRID.com (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.