There is a distinction between being ready and prepared. In my own personal journey I have found myself often in need of guidance. I know what it is to be prepared and what it means when you find out that you should have had or brought this or that. As a former US Marine and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) combat veteran I have done my fair share of getting both myself and others ready. Having lists of what is needed and training to be conducted was an asset that I had overlooked and perhaps even taken for granted. “Higher ups” would tell us what to bring and tell us what to skills we needed to develop in order to be ready for the mission. Now as I am no longer able to rely on the plans that they had assembled, I realize the value of the worth of logistics and planning. My Lieutenant was fond of saying “Proper prior planning prevents p**s poor performance” and truer words were never spoken.
How does one properly plan for the collapse of the world around him? Well the best way that I know is to prepare for the worst and hope for the best. There are a myriad of different web sites out there that will try and sell you the cure all for this or that situation, the problem is that you never really know what you will need and what will be extra weight. Kits are a great way to start if you are unsure what to get but want to get something. Do not let yourself be fooled though. No kit on the market has everything you need. In my opinion the best way to be prepared is to get what you need and get the best that you can afford. SurvivalBlog.com so far has been my greatest resource for recommendations but nothing beats reviews and research. Firsthand knowledge is great and first hand working knowledge is better. What I mean by that is, do not buy supplies and store them somewhere, use them. My personal plan is divided into several categories. Each of the categories are Listed below with a greater amount of detail in each.
You cannot store enough water for an extended emergency. Face that fact and accept it. You could have hundred of gallons on site but there are too many what ifs to face. What if you have to leave your retreat? What if your holding tank gets contaminated? What if you get a leak? I am not advocating not storing water when you are able I am saying that simply having water does not make you prepared. You need to have a way to replenish that water. Whether it is through a spring, or through some form of rain collection, filtration and purification capabilities are a must. Filtering will work for a while but when you run out of filters hopefully the world will be back up and running and there will be more available. If not then You need to have a purification method that you can utilize. Water is certainly the number one resource that humans need on a daily basis for survival and beyond the basic needs of hydration sanitation and comfort is a need that your water will have to provide for. I have been in “the Field” or “outside the wire” for long stretches of time and believe me when I say that having a shower is a luxury that become a necessity in short order. Clean clothes keep moral up and clean bodies keep the odor signature down.
Food is a renewable resource like water and must be treated as such. Storing food is only the first step to having food. In order to be prepared you must have a plan for replacing the food that you eat from your stored foods. Active people will eat more that people who are just waiting out some civil unrest so if your plan includes farming or hunting then you should plan to feed those people responsible for those activities accordingly. Earlier I stated that you need to use your supplies and tools. Well I mean it. Your food storage may have a shelf life of 10 or 15 years and that’s great but if you don’t incorporate the foods that you will be force to eat later into your diet today how will you know that they are going to provide for you? Working knowledge. A simple plan that we do at my home is we have some freeze dried foods as well as dehydrated, shelf life of 10 years or so, stored for future use. 5 years from the date of purchase I reorder the same quantity and start to eat the older supplies after the new ones arrive. Not only does this rotate my stock and ensure that I will have the longest shelf life possible within reasonable expectations but it also provides me working knowledge of what spice I will want to add, how much water it take to prepare the foods themselves and it also allows me to pick and choose favorites to add to my next order.
Shelter is one of the hardest topics for me to cover. There are so many options but the key to this part is to have a stationary and a mobile plan. If you are lucky enough to be in a great spot to be stationary then you could build your shelter and have it in place where you live. If not then you are going to have to get some good quality lightweight shelter to take with you to your specific destination. A stationary shelter at home if great and will allow you to monitor the supplies that you have stockpiled as well as being able to have more supplies at the ready when TSHTF. In either case a mobile shelter plan is a must. Having supplies is great until some unsavory characters decide that those are their supplies. If you must vacate the area that your supplies are in then having a mobile shelter plan in place is great. What will you take, where will you go, what is your ultimate destination and where will you stop to rest on the way? These are just the basic questions that you need to ask yourself, after you have these figured out you can figure out how much food water and other supplies you will need to make the journey and if you have a location that you can store some of these on the way or even at your destination then that’s all the better. My family and I have a site at home as well as a secondary destination further north. The plan to get there includes both vehicular and foot based routes. Road travel may not only be unsafe but may be impossible depending on what has happened to cause TEOTWAWKI.
Use it, and use it often. Gear that is unused is unknown. You would have a rifle that you’ve never fired right? The same goes with the shovels, axes, medical kits, and all other supplies. You need to train yourself in how to use everything. The best use of your gear will be to put it to use as it is intended for after TSHTF. If you plan to grow your own food then, then you should grow your own food now. If you find a brand of tools that you like and that last after being used then buy another one and prepare it for storage. If you feel that you should test it as well then do so, but remember to clean it and store it. The “Working Knowledge” that you gain will not only be invaluable as far as the tools go but for the simple peace of mind that you gain from knowing that you have the skills to use the things that you have. Plus when you use something that you have you are going to find out that you need x y or z in order to clean it or to get the most out of the tool/piece of gear that you are going to end up relying on. There is not really a general store and supplies will not be plentiful. You may have to rely on what you can carry. You will want to know that your stuff isn’t just extra weight.
No one told me how to go from being ready to being prepared. I am finding out every day that there is more and more to learn and more and more scenarios that I need to prepare for. If you want to prepare yourself for the transition from ready to prepared then James Rawles’ book “How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It” is a real eye opener. I have read it, gifted it, and recommended it often and refer back to it on multiple occasions. There are so many things that could tip the world into a SHTF scenario my best advice is to get started. Buy what you can and start implanting preparation into a weekly and then daily habit. You will see the world differently. All of a sudden everything becomes useful or not. Research everything that you intend to purchase, use everything that you do purchase and review it for others. The only way we are going to get through this is together.
This is a small insight into what to do to get prepared. There is no one size fits all scenario, and certainly not a single way to do this. It is not possible to ready for every scenario but being as prepared as possible will certainly give you an advantage. Being ready is knowing what to do with what you have, and being prepared is having what you need.