I’ve only been in the survival community for one to two years; I still need quite a bit of work to do before I’d dare say I’m prepared enough to survive a severe blizzard let alone some life changing and significantly prolonged event. I get a little overwhelmed by all the work I still have to do and frustrated by how precious little resources I have to work with. I’m a 21 year old unemployed college student still living at home in an apartment complex 20 minutes from a city, as you can see my options are limited. Limited not eliminated; my situation is not a hopeless one, neither is any reader out there who finds themselves in the same boat as me (be it limited resources or inexperience). There are still many things we can do to build a solid foundation onto which the rest of our survivalist futures will rest upon. Here are just a few things I’ve learned to do, I hope it helps others out there just starting off in their preparedness planning.
I live in an area of the country famous for temperamental weather patterns, the only constant expected here is snow and lots of it in the winter time. My first step is to deal with the most likely threat first and work my way up from there. SurvivalCache.com did a fantastic piece on this called the “Survival Pyramid” the pyramid (from top down) is formed by how much supplies equipment and resources are needed depending on the situation. For example the top tier is the most common of events, small weather events (like the blizzards I mentioned) power outages and anything run of the mill that requires the bare minimum of preparedness is in this segment.
I know when I started reading the survival web sites I flipped out realizing how many things could disrupt my life and require me to survive on my own for an indefinite period of time. I began thinking It could happen any day now. I need a kit for this and something in my car for that. I need to make more money and start storing food, NOW! Frankly it was a miserable feeling, I was always anxious and always felt defeated. I had created an idol, I wasn’t sticking with the faith knowing God would provide for me if events beyond my control and beyond my capacity to prepare for happened. Also I wasn’t feeling like a real survivalist, prepping should give a certain amount of confidence and peace of mind because you have a plan.
That peace of mind only came for me when my priorities were set (aka put God first) straight and when I set up a realistic goal for starting out. That realistic goal can only be achieved (adequately and efficiently) by sitting down and planning before the crisis is happening. Right now while the world is sane and your mind is calm and focused write down what you would need to make it through a survival situation. You won’t have this luxury while the event is hours away or happening right this very second and you’re in a crowded half empty supermarket trying to find bread and soup for the next few days. This also helps you realize the important stuff that you over looked trying to get all the essentials taken care of. The other important items? Toilet paper, feminine products, tooth paste etc. All the little stuff you know will bite you in the nose the minute you’re out of it and you have no way to get it.
Finally set up a timetable so that you can eventually extend your small term plan into a long term plan in a realistic but efficient manner. For example I’m writing this in August, my starter two week winter survival plan’s deadline is December 1st. The deadline is placed far enough in advance for me so that I can ensure to meet it. Realistic deadlines will give you the proper motivation needed to get the job done at a steady pace (this idea was taken from Southernprepper1, a very great survivalist and fantastic teacher on YouTube, I highly recommend everyone check him out). And once you’ve met that deadline you’ll see that this isn’t so bad, it can be done, and done right. Next you’ll stretch your supplies from two weeks to a month, then a year supply with a planted garden for perpetual food supplies. Before you know it you’ll be Bugging Out with the best of them.
Turns out survival skills require quite a bit of knowledge and a varied skill set.
In this day and age we’re surrounded by information, it won’t be too hard for you to learn more about all things preparedness.
For starters there’s the machine you’re sitting at right now. The internet gives everyone access to the largest storage center for information and idea sharing ever created in human history. To make this search for knowledge on the vastness of the web more fruitful and dare I say fun I recommend a Stumble Upon account. StumbleUpon.com is a more entertaining and less tedious version of Google-like searching. Create the account and put in what your hobbies and interests are, (yes survivalist is an option) then hit the “stumble” button. The next thing you know web sites you’ve never even heard of on a standard Google search will be popping up at random ready to display valuable information to you.
But of course the old fashion book still has a place in this digital world (after all when the Schumer hits the fan we’ll need something to reference to) in my college library I was able to find a survival resource book that is no longer in print. I happily spent free time in the library between classes reading it and taking notes. The library is free people, and I’m sure you pass at least one on your various travels. You can even search the selves from the internet these days making finding books that much easier.
Of course there’s not just skills but equipment that you must learn about too. Product reviews on shopping web sites aren’t always the most reliable source of information since they can contain one or two people who didn’t know how to properly handle the product (it happens frequently with electronics, an almost 100% five star rating ruined by a select few that can’t program the television or sound system the right way). More often than not though they can help give you a better idea of the quality of a product. Professional reviews of products on web sites devoted to survivalism are the best since these people know how to handle the equipment and can give you an accurate reading on how well it truly performs. However, personally, the best book I’ve read on gear selection (for a beginner that is) has to be Camping for Dummies by Michael Hodgson. It gives a great overview of what to look for in backpacks, boots, and sleeping bags to get the most for your money.
Of course not all things can be learned from merely reading. Once you have the money and ability I strongly recommend taking courses in first aid and basic wilderness survival. There’s something about being instructed and physically doing the actions that instills a sense of confidence that is vital in chaotic and stressful situations that require a sound, focused, and prepared mind to deal with them.
One part of survivalism that is finally receiving attention is the need for us to stay in the best physical shape possible so that we can meet the possible demands of a Schumer hit the fan situation. Thankfully, if you’re creative and do a bit of research on strength and conditioning, you’ll find out that it’s not that difficult or expensive to start your own custom workout regimen. I’ve been blessed with a best friend that is also an aspiring personal trainer (he also won a strong man bench-press competition last year, hey I have to brag) he has given me a great amount of advice and has developed a training system to meet military and martial artist standards of fitness. The workout schedule goes as follows (just to give an example):
Monday: Strength Training 8 reps 3 sets 1 minute rests between sets
Tuesday: Cardio a series of movements executed on the punching bag. Rest as needed
Thursday: Endurance Training 15 reps 2 sets 2 minute rests between sets
Friday: Quick Cardio a series of simpler movements executed on the punching bag (only more of them) rest as needed.
The workouts only take me about 30 minutes a day and afterwards I don’t feel so exhausted that I can’t move. I feel great actually and the results are worth it.
Another part of survivalism that has finally taken root in the community is having the proper mind set to deal with the tough decisions and events of a Schumer hit the fan situation. Again SurvivalCache.com has done a brilliant piece on the emotional and mental toll of taking another person’s life in the name of self-defense. Southernprepper1 does a series of videos that act as if a WROL (Without Rule of Law) situation is actually occurring.
It’s best to realize now, in the foundational stages that is, that survivalism is not meant to be treated like an evening out with the guys. It’s not a perpetual camping trip and it isn’t an excuse to get all your cool guns together and play Rambo. It’s a serious business that requires a mature and prepared mind to handle the stress and uncertainty of this new reality that you’ve been thrown into.
We can’t survive alone, in your planning stages as well as your execution of the survival plans you are going to need help. I made the mistake of trying to do it all on my own at first, then I read a SurvialCache.com article on talking with your family about being prepared. I started including my mother (whom I live with) in the conversation on the matter, turns out she had some ideas I never would’ve thought of and she was more than willing to help contribute to the effort. I can tell you it feels good having someone around to help shoulder the burden and it looks like the plans will be moving faster because of our collaboration.
Especially when you’re just starting out you’re going to need help, you’re going to need the experience and knowledge of others to get off on the right path. Never be afraid to ask for help from the survival community, if there’s one important and fantastic thing I’ve learned from joining the various survival web sites it’s how friendly and helpful even the most experienced veteran survivalist is. They know what’s out there, what can rock worlds and change life as we know it in an instant, they preparing for it and they’re more than happy to help you prepare for it too in any way they can. It kind of reminds me of the old days before there was this useless Nanny State system, when neighbors hit a financial rough spot they helped each other out. They made dinners and brought it over to the affected family, they offered help in fixing whatever was broken free of charge, and even left $500 in an unmarked envelope addressed to a needy family (something which happened to my mother at church once).
In the past month I’ve been blessed many times by my church family covering my six because of such tough times (I write this article on a very nice laptop that was given to me as a birthday present, among other things, to help me get through college and reach for a better future).
“Woe to the man who falls and lacks a brother to help him up” says Ecclesiastes 4:10. It is a fatal error to believe you can survive all by yourself. You can do a lot to make yourself less dependent on the government for protection, and make yourself less dependent on modern infrastructure like the power grid and supermarkets. But the bottom line is at some point and time you’ll need someone to “cover your six” because you need the safety of numbers, because you don’t know how to do something but a friend of yours does, or simply because you need someone around for moral support.
Don’t let the prideful “I can do it myself” mentality dig in early in your preparedness plans, it will most certainly be your Achilles Heel when stuff really starts falling apart. We became a strong, stable and prosperous society by benefiting from the trades of talents and knowledge from each other. The same strength, stability, and prosperity can only be achieved in survival situations if we benefit from each other.
With much love and hope that everyone stays safe and secure in all their plans, – ChristianRebel