Hobbies Can Make You a Better Prepper, by Dan Vale

Preppers are blessed if their family members take prepping as seriously as they themselves do. The children in a prepper family, however, may not be as easily convinced of the need for the prepping lifestyle as will the older generations. These seniors have lived long enough to have encountered natural disasters such as tornadoes and man-made disasters such as the Great Depression and the Great Recession of 2008.

If this naivete is a problem, however, all is not lost. “Stealth prepping” through fun hobbies is one way to prepare young, naive children for emergencies. By encouraging your family members to pursue prepper-related hobbies that they like, your family members will be more likely to contribute to the readiness of your family.

So, what are some prepper-related hobbies? This article will describe a wide variety of prepper-related hobbies. Chances are that at least some of these hobbies might be of interest to your family members. Look upon the hobbies in this article as you would look upon descriptions of food on a restaurant menu. Nobody eats all of the foods on the menu.

If a family member becomes interested in some of these prepper-related hobbies, preppers can encourage that interest. Methods of doing so include making sure the family members have the money, transportation, or whatever they need to pursue the prepper -elated hobby or hobbies of interest to them.

Who does not enjoy vacations? Traveling vacations can be a special treat. Packing for a vacation trip in some ways is like a slow motion procedure of bugging out. A family that has taken a number of traveling vacations probably will be more effective at bugging out.

If the family members enjoy camping, these traveling vacations will cheaper than staying in motels, and camping also can present good opportunities to teach and practice many prepper-related skills. Examples of such skills are putting up a tent, starting a campfire, hiking, compass reading, and cooking over a campfire.

Cooking Skills

Let’s talk more about cooking. If more than one family member is skilled at cooking, the family will have a backup chef if the main chef becomes sick or is otherwise not available. Cooking is a good hobby for family members. As Napoleon Bonaparte once said, “An army travels on its stomach.” .

How is playing a musical instrument a prepper-related skill? Consider what happens, for example, during a power blackout. The bad news is that electronic entertainment might not be as available. Some family members are so addicted to electronic entertainment that they can suffer from stimulus deprivation when that electronic entertainment is not available.

But now for the good news. If one or more family members can play musical instruments, then they can provide stimulus-deprived family members some entertainment similar to that provided to families generations ago, before there was electronic entertainment. Such old fashioned entertainment might result in family members singing together and becoming more bonded to one another. Musical instruments can range in size from a harmonica to a piano. The smaller musical instruments have the advantage of being portable during a bug out.

I do not consider church attendance a hobby. I will, however, mention it in this article because church attendance helps prepper family members to bond not only with God, but also with other worshipers outside of their family. Examples of activities that facilitate such bonding include church picnics and dinners, group tourist outings, and Christmas caroling.

These friendship bonds can be important during disasters. One family, for example, might have plenty of a skill or commodity that another family needs and vice versa. If there is trust between these families, then they will be more likely to safely and ethically trade between themselves for what each family needs.

Radio Hobbies

Ham Radio or police band monitoring, can give prepper families a more thorough picture of what is happening in their area before, during, and after a disaster. Encouraging an interest in these hobbies can result in a prepper family that is well informed and able to react quickly and effectively to disasters.

Crossword puzzles? What could that hobby possibly have to do with prepping?! This hobby’s relevance is more than is immediately obvious. Crossword puzzles are a fun way to improve the vocabulary and spelling of those who pursue this hobby. These improvements will develop writing skills. Younger family members will increase their writing skills and senior family members will keep their writing skills sharp. Clear, written communications can be critical for families separated before, during, or after a disaster. Crossword puzzles have graduated levels of difficulty. Thus, each puzzler can choose his or her own level of difficulty.

Crossword puzzles also will develop persistence in overcoming problems. There are, for example, many word spaces that seem impossible to fill in at the beginning of a crossword puzzle effort. By filling in the words that they know, however, puzzlers can eventually see one or more letters of an unknown word and can guess the right word. Problem solving can be a similar process, and there will be plenty of problems to be solved during a disaster.

Team Sports

What do team sports have to do with prepping? Team sports teach teamwork and leadership skills. Both of these skills will be helpful when a prepper family encounters a disaster. Examples of team sports at all levels are Little League baseball (ages 5-16) and Babe Ruth baseball (ages 13-18).

Disasters create many conditions that can cause considerable stress for family members. If family members are confined to their homes, cabin fever might develop. If family members must interact constantly with one another, and if daily patterns of living are drastically changed, stress can cause arguments that will further increase the mental tension in the household.

Getting family members interested and involved in aerobic exercise before a disaster will expose them to the incredible stress busting effects of aerobic exercise. If family members are accustomed to using aerobic exercise to lower their stress, they will be more likely to use aerobics to lessen their stress during disasters. Examples of aerobic exercise include walking, jogging, skipping rope, and handball. Another example is a parent and child one-on-one basketball game.

Exercising outdoors can be a multi-sensual, addicting experience. Seeing the sun shining through the morning dew drops makes them look as bright as diamonds. Seeing rainbows, sunrises, sunsets, and seasonal color changes of leaves can be incredible experiences. Feeling the wind and sunshine on skin can be a sensual experience. Listening to the sounds of birds and crickets can be hypnotic. Smelling the blossoming flowers in the spring, and the pine trees all year long is pleasurable. As William Cowper said, “Nature is but a name for an effect, whose cause is God.”


Even if confined to a house during a disaster, aerobic exercise still is possible. In multistory houses, for example, going up and down stairs will give an aerobic workout. Aerobic exercise is even possible in a single story house that is without electric power. A stationary bike does not require the electricity that a treadmill requires. Skipping rope is another possibility.

Aerobic exercise will improve the heart health of prepper family members and make them less likely to suffer strokes and heart attacks. Such medical emergencies are bad enough during normal times, but are especially dangerous during disasters when stress is high and medical facilities are not available or are overextended.

With appropriate modifications, aerobic exercise can be suitable for all family members. Senior family members who have arthritis, for example, might want to walk, bicycle, or swim instead of run. As another example, seniors with balance problems might choose to use a stationary, indoor bike rather than a regular, outdoor bike. Consulting with a doctor about exercise plans is a good idea, especially for those who are on medications.

Weight Training

Weight training is another hobby that is valuable to a prepper family. Elderly family members who strengthen themselves through weight training might, as an example, carry young children during a hasty evacuation rather than having to be helped by another family member to evacuate themselves.

Those younger family members who train with weights, as another example, will be less likely to pull a muscle or wrench a back when doing something physically stressful during an emergency. An example might be hauling buckets of water out of a basement that is quickly flooding due to a failed sump pump.

Weight training can be done at home, and doing so has many advantages. For example, there would be no commute to and from the gym and no monthly fees. There also would be no waiting to use an exercise machine and no distraction from other gym members who might be looking for dates with other gym members.

Thrift stores often have weights and other exercise equipment at very low prices. When done at home, the preppers also can serve as positive role models to their children who might be playing video games on the couch. Once teenaged boys see how much weight lifting fills them out physically, they rarely need more encouragement to lift weights.

Food-Related Hobbies

Hunting, fishing, and gardening also are excellent prepper-related hobbies. Especially during the unemployment of family breadwinners, for example, saving money on food bills will be critical. These hobbies also give prepper children a more realistic appreciation of food. They experience the actual growing and/or harvesting of food instead of just seeing it in the supermarket.

Gardening has additional advantages. It is, for example, good exercise for senior family members. Also, prepper family members can trade excess the harvest from their garden with other families who also have gardens. This can lead to friendship bonds with other families that can valuable during a disaster.

Once family members have embraced the prepper-related hobbies, they can be helped to appreciate the importance of these hobbies for disaster preparation. To add this importance to their prepper-related hobbies, preppers can subtly, in September, make their family members aware of National Preparedness Month. It is sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) within the Department of Homeland Security.

Help to prepare your family for man-made or natural disasters by means of these prepper-related hobbies. Be open, also, to other hobbies that might have good potential to prepare your family.









    1. I noticed that, too. Things such as the ability and knowledge of how to process a raw fleece from shearing by hand all the way to finished garments, blankets or rugs whether they are knitted, crocheted or woven. Don’t forget there’s a spinning step in there, too right after the scouring one. And then there’s dying and sewing w/ handwoven yardage. Thank goodness the fiber arts are enjoying a Renaissance of sorts lately.

  1. In my childhood my parents would take us to the same primitive campground in the mountains every summer for at least a week. It was my first experience that planning= dry and warm, and also years of dealing with various weather conditions in the same physical location (thunderstorms, hail, drought, flood, etc.). Absolutely priceless experience, looking back.

    To go a little further, historical re-enactment societies are a great way to stealth teach skills. Games such as geocaching and compass-bearing races would work well for teens if you got them interested beforehand. Play paintball or airsoft.

  2. Great article.

    Regarding cooking, I would include making jerky. So useful during normal and emergency times. And a lot of people just love eating it but it is expensive to buy. Making your own is much cheaper.

  3. You guys call it prepping but it’s actually living everyday when your poor. It’s not a game to dally in it’s real life skills you use everyday. It’s not romantic it’s reality. If you think living in a situation where you have to make a green shelter is something you may have to do watch a grizzly bear national geo graphic go camping have a bear come into camp in the middle of the night. All of a sudden some bulls**t dugout isn’t going to be enough and your gonna know why. And bear spray helps but sometimes that doesn’t stop em. It’s survival of the fittest not me against you it’s an us thing because us humans are all we have against the real monsters like bears, wolverines,cougars, broken limbs and infections. It’s all just common sense you should be using everyday rich or poor. Because life real life isn’t Disney world it’s survival of the fittest and if you got a hamburger and Joe shmoe doesn’t your stronger breaking it in half as a team and sharing it to get you both farther to the next meal. Farmers, hunters, and homeless people live some of this s**t everyday.

    1. BS.. The poor and impoverished don’t live in grizzly bear country making green shelters and sharing their meager supplies with other poor campers. They live in urban areas. They have few, if any, true primitive survival skills. Sure they can make a decent struggle plate out of a miss-match of ingredients, but they can. Not set snares, clean and process game, and preserve the meat. Oh and they don’t share. Don’t believe me? What group of people will die off the fastest in ANY scenario, hurricane, flooding, fire, SHTF? That’s right the poor. History is replete with thousands of examples. Training, skills, physical fitness, health, resources, mobility and money (items of value) is what will help you survive. Poor people are too busy scraping by to aquire these things. Sure rich people with nothing but money will die just as quickly, but poor people have the deck stacked against them

  4. The term Great Recession kind of irritates me.

    While I do not wish to minimize the suffering that some endured, based on unemployment rates, the recession in 1981/82 was more severe peaking at over 11%.

    IMO, while the Great Recession was certainly real, it was largely extended by policy choices one being extension of unemployment benefits. As anecdotal evidence of what I am talking about, I had an older friend, retired from the military, retired from civil service who had taken a contractor job just prior to the recession. He was not even super interested in working anymore and was financially able to retire. But when he was layed off, he told me he would keep collecting unemployment as long as he could.

    I told another friend that I thought jobs were available and that people were just milking the situation. He argued with me about it and cited numerous people in his church who could not find work and we’re hurting. He came back to me a little while later with his mind changed somewhat as some of the people he was talking about had told him about the work they had turned down.

    I don’t want to minimize those who were not milking the system but the fact is those who were made the whole thing look worse than it was and possibly harmed others by jacking up unemployment insurance rates which also slowed hiring some. And a lot of them were just boomers ready to check out of the workforce already. Which again IMO reflects some of the low labor participation rate we are seeing now, despite low unemployment rates.

    And I also believe many politicians saw the recession as something to milk rather than something to fix. But I have said enough already.

    1. You’re right, a lot of people >don’t want to work, or least work at a physically strenuous and/or mentally challenging job. …. In many ways, the USA has been blessed with modern machinery, industrialization, and futuristic technology. = It has compensated for the people deciding, to just sit and enjoy television and such, while their idle hands do the ‘devil’s work.’

      In the religious heritage of our society, >work is valued as a moral activity, along with providing economic betterment. The Bible admonishes people to work, and describes the consequences of Idleness. … Here’s one of many Old Testament verses:
      “Slothfulness casteth into a deep sleep; and an idle soul shall suffer hunger.” Proverbs 19:15 (KJV)

      The New Testament 2 Thessalonians 3 (KJV) admonishes people to work too.
      “8 Neither did we eat any man’s bread for nought; but wrought with labour and
      travail night and day, that we might not be chargeable to any of you:
      9 Not because we have not power, but to make ourselves an ensample unto you
      to follow us.
      10 For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would
      not work, neither should he eat.
      11 For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not
      at all, but are busybodies.”

      Israel is a good example of the economic benefits of getting out of bed and going to work. The other and much >poorer neighboring countries, think it’s just a big conspiracy. … It’s actually, just a side by side demonstration of the benefits of hard work. Plus, obviously a moral code of ethical conduct between people.

      We see the same attitude in our political arena. Some politicians promise to bring the good >jobs back to the USA. … Other politicians point-at the benefits derived from hard work and say, “You didn’t earn that.” Plus, they promise more ‘free stuff’ to people (without much working).
      Some of our politicians even advocate for China exploiting their workers, as virtually ‘slave labors’ ~ to provide the ‘cheap stuff’ in our USA stores.

      The USA has been blessed by God, with technology and modern-machinery. +There are still many people in the USA that respond to God’s call to >work for their daily bread.

    2. Unemployment is under 4 or 5% only if you believe the government’s monthly pronouncements. In my opinion, the statistics at Shadowstats.com, presented by John Williams, are more accurate and much more believable.

      1. I suspect you could be right. However there is a lot of work available where I live. Businesses advertising everywhere for help. Who knows how long it will last? For that reason I work pretty much every hour I can. Never know when it will dry up.

  5. I picked up quilting this year. I invested in a better sewing machine and am practicing the skills of blanket making. I’m pretty terrible at it right now and call myself a better “seam ripper” than a seamstress. LOL. I think stocking up on fabrics, thread, and batting is not going to hurt either. I also picked up fishing of all things. Hadn’t gone fishing since I was a kid. I caught zero fish, but the experience was glorious due to the scenery and quiet. I also learned to make ice cream from scratch with farm fresh turkey eggs! Turkey eggs are huge and I just happened to find them at the Farmer’s Market. I believe in getting to know all the local farmers by purchasing their products and having a conversation. I’d love to raise turkeys for meat and eggs, but that’s out of reach for the moment. I am enjoying each experience, but more importantly, I’m reviving old skills.

  6. In 1965 my husband went to work one morning (construction) while I’m home with our babies age newborn, 1year, and 2years old. He came back in an ambulance, and had casts on both legs for 8 months, a year past before he could work again. Workmen’s Comp. had
    just started and helped very little. After 1 month I had to borrow grocery money and started to learn.
    Now I can meats, veggies, fruit, and garden. I sew and alter clothing, and quilt. I spin wool and other fibers, knit and crochet. Raise rabbits and chicken for obvious reasons. Have all these skills and taught them to my children. Would like to teach others but most aren’t interested! There is far too many unprepared for emergency.

    1. The problem with any hobby you make money at is that it eventually becomes a job and then its less fun. I started a hobby in 1997, turned it into a side job in 1998, and went full time in 2004. Been doing it ever since.

      I know a guy who enjoys forging. He makes and sells knives and does custom work on demand like making railings, but he also teaches others and rents them forge time so they can make their own knives and tools. Pair that with an AirBnB location and you can charge people for forging classes as well as room and board.

      Trapping. You can tan and sell the furs. I’ve never seriously trapped, but I think I’d enjoy it in retirement.

      Cutting and splitting firewood and selling to others. You give a customer a good deal and stack it nicely for them and they will come back over and over again.

      Raise bees and sell the honey and wax. I’ve done this on a small scale but some people really get into it and place hives on properties for many mile around (with permission, of course).

      Gathering valuable wild plants. Depending where you live this might include huckleberries, ginseng, and other botanicals used for teas and medicinal purposes.

      You would be shocked at the crafty things tourists will buy in gift shops, especially if it is made locally by an “artist.” Round river rocks with cute faces painted on them. Things carved out of corn husks. Wood signs with funny sayings. Knitted scarves and mittens made from locally sourced wool. It’s an unending list.

      Wood working/cabinet making and producing homemade furniture can all generate income. I’ve seen coffee tables made from large tree trunks that sell for $1200 and the guy has a waiting list! Harvesting unusual wood and selling it to artists or builders is another option. I can tell you that the chunk of wood that makes our mantle cost a pretty penny.

  7. I whole heartedly agree with you. But I have developed some skills and extra money with my hobbies. My wife and I have an understanding that my hobbies must be self sustaining. So I started referring high school and peewee football and I make a few thousand dollars a year. But I get pretty good exercise. Then I started referring soccer. At the high school level I get good exercise running about 10 miles a night and make $3,000 plus a year. Great aerobic exercise and good money. The money from these two sports pays for our prepping and other items. It does not have an impact on our everyday budget. Then in the off season of sports, I give to my community as a reserve deputy. Again good training almost no cost and good contacts. This morning my wife and woke up early and hiked 4 miles. Some say I am fighting aging, but I say I am sustaining what God gave me. Glory to God and thank you for your post.

  8. Interesting that a photo of a sewing machine was used as the lead-in for the article, but not any mention of sewing in the article.

    My wife and I have sewn for the public doing alterations, mending, and repairs in a very rural setting for 13 years. Our backlog of work is usually 2-3 weeks. There are lots of folks who need basic sewing done for them because few people sew much anymore.

    CD in Oklahoma

  9. My path has taken me to becoming a scout master. My oh my do you learn about prepping skills. Got a hard lesson in what it would be like to walk to your bug out location. Covered 67 miles at summer camp with only 5 as part of a trail hike. My fanny was dragging and sore.

  10. Excellent article ! It really gets one thinking about all the skills they do have just from day to day living. I liked this article because of the thought processes it started about how many skills we really do possess from things we have done in life. Absolutely no way to list them all but the thinking that it started was great.

  11. The thinking process behind this article is spot on. We agree with others who note the usefulness of sewing/quilting skills and the revenue-producing potential of these pursuits ( in peace-time). We teach tweener’s how to sew here in the SE, and we have a unique ham radio club that caters to high schools students who want to experiment with new (and over-looked/under-deployed) methods of radio-based communication. Let not your hearts be troubled, these kids are all right!

  12. “..the great resession of 2008..”
    I’d like to slap the person that coined THAT phrase…
    Where the downturn is undeniable, it was hardly to be considered “great” in any way..
    And the fact that it was engineered by the likes of the Alan Greenspan and
    george soros ilk (democrat and RINO’s, alike),
    tends to get swept under the rug by such grandiose nomenclature.
    As for me and mine, Prepping was certainly given credence during that time…
    So pay heed to the good advice in this article, folks…spot on!

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