Ultimate Guide to Prepper Basics List: Survive Any Crisis

Whether you’re worried about layoffs, natural disasters, or societal decline, it’s crucial to start preparing now. Prepping is about reducing the chances of major disruptions and being able to recover from them.

In this guide, I will provide you with essential steps to prepping, including building a solid foundation with a prepper basics list, preparing your home, packing bug-out bags, and learning core skills.

Key Takeaways:

  • Prepping is about reducing the chances of major disruptions and being able to recover from them.
  • Millions of rational people from all walks of life are taking preparedness seriously.
  • Avoid common mistakes in prepping, such as buying off-the-shelf kits and focusing on unrealistic fantasies.
  • Customize your preps based on your specific risks.
  • Use Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and the Pareto 80-20 rule to prioritize your prepping efforts.

Our Story

When I started prepping, I was just a regular person worried about things like losing my job or facing a big storm. I saw that being ready for tough times could make a big difference.

I didn’t want to build secret hideouts or stockpile tons of stuff like in the movies. I was more like my friends Sarah and Mark, who felt better because they were prepared.

Being a prepper is about being prepared, not being simply being strong. It means learning useful skills and having what you need to handle tough situations. It’s about being ready for anything that might happen.

Lots of regular people like me are getting into prepping. It’s not just about getting through hard times, it’s about doing well even when things are tough.

So, don’t worry if you’re not a superhero. Prepping is for everyone. It’s about being ready and feeling safe, and that’s what matters most.

Prepper Basics List

  1. Alcohol  (and rubbing alcohol)
  2. Antibiotics
  3. Antibacterials
  4. Antiseptics – Neosporin (or polysporin if you are allergic)
  5. Ammunition.
  6. Aspirin or aspirin alternatives
  7. Axe / hatchet and sharpener for wood chopping. Pulaski axe.
  8. Big Berkey water filter
  9. Blankets – mylar blankets , fleece and wool blankets
  10. Bleach
  11. Boots (hiking, work boots)
  12. Bouillon cubes
  13. Borax
  14. burn barrel
  15. Bucket Openers.
  16. Buckets of Emergency Food (beans, corn, cerealoats, pasta,
    popcorn, powdered milk, rice, sugar, spices and wheat)
  17. Bugout bag
  18. Bugout bike
  19. Burn barrel
  20. Cable ties
  21. Canteen or water bladder
  22. Canned foods
  23. Canning lids
  24. Carbon monixide detector
  25. Camp stove
  26. Camp solar shower
  27. Camp Suds
  28. Charcoal (activated charcoal and charcoal briquettes)
  29. Compass and maps
  30. Composting toilet
  31. Communications (cell phone, weather Radio, CB, HAM radio,
    two wave radio, walkie talkies)
  32. Candles (emergency candles) and candlemaking supplies
  33. Canned food – meats, fruits, vegetables, soups, stews,
  34. Can Openers – multiples for redundancy
  35. Carts – hauling food, water, wood, and equipment
  36. Chemical suit
  37. Chewing gum. Chew on this: Gum could help save your life in
    a survival situation and we’ll show you how, so don’t over
    look this inexpensive part of your preps!
  38. Cigarettes  – for tinder and bartering
  39. Citrus – prevent scurvy malnutrition.
  40. Cordage – paracord
  41. Colloidal silver
  42. Coffee packaged for long term food storage
  43. Coffee filters
  44. Copper
  45. Dehydrator
  46. Duct tape
  47. Dental aid – dental medic kit, dental wax, braces kit
  48. Dental hygiene supplies –  dental floss, toothbrushes,
    toothpaste, mouthwash (which is an antiseptic!)
  49. Disinfectants (chlorine bleach, Steramine tablets)
  50. Drink mixes, powdered milk, and other emergency drinks
  51. Essential Oils. When medicines are not available, preppers
    will be turning to wisdom of the centuries with tinctures and
    essential oils.
  52. Electrolytes – Pedialyte, Saltstick Electrolyte Capsules
  53. Emergency radio
  54. Epsom Salt
  55. Ferro rod
  56. Flashlights – LED, hand crank, and solar
  57. Flu pandemic mask
  58. Firearms (guns and ammunition)
  59. Fire extinguishers
  60. Fire starters – BIC lighter, matches, ferro rod, Zippo
  61. Fresnel lens
  62. Freeze dried foods – Augason FarmsHoneyville Farms,
    Mountain House, Legacy Foods, bucket of potatoes.
  63. Fishing gear – fishing pole and reel, fishing line, lures,
    swivels, sinkers, tackle box
  64. First Aid supplies – bandages, butterfly bandages, finger
    cots, finger splints, smelling salts, (see also Medic Bag)
  65. Fuel –  kerosene, propane, white gas (see also charcoal)
  66. Gas Mask – Nuclear Biological and Chemical (NBC) gas mask
  67. Gardening tools – rake, hoe, planters (see also shovel and
  68. Generator
  69. Grains
  70. Grain mill
  71. Hammer and nails
  72. Heirloom, non-GMO Survival Seeds.
  73. Home defense tools – barbed wire
  74. Homestead supplies – chicken wire (aka poultry netting) and
    garden staples,
  75. Hunting – alternate gear including, BB gun, crossbow, snare
    wire, slingshot, pellet gun
  76. Hygiene (dental)
  77. Hygiene (personal) ~ shampoo, soap, toothpaste
  78. Hygiene (other)– diapers (paper and cloth); sanitary napkins,
    tampons or cup; adult diapers, wipes
  79. Hydrogen peroxide
  80. Immunity Boosters – Vitamins
  81. Knives (fixed blade knives)
  82. Knives (folding knives )
  83. Lanterns  ~ solar, gas, hand crank, oil lamps
  84. Laundry ~ off grid washing machine, centrifugal dryer,
    washboards, clothes pins and washing line
  85. Lighter BIC lighter or Zippo
  86. Pandemic Personal Protective Equipment – chemical and
    splash resistant, disposable clothing, booties  pandemic
    mask, goggles, nitrile gloves, gauntlet gloves
  87. Plastic bags ~ hazardous waste bags, garbage bags, ziplock
  88. Protein bars, energy bars, cereal bars, granola bars
  89. Manual kitchen tools – butter churn, cheesecloth, cheese
    wax, manual egg beater,  manual knife sharpener, juice
    press, corn husker, heavy duty apple /potato peeler, pea
  90. Mason jars
  91. Medicines (allergy, aspirinaspirin alternativeactivated
    charcoal, cold medicine etc. )
  92. Medics bag and first responder supplies
  93. Powdered milk
  94. Pressure cooker – for home canning
  95. Prescription medications (minimum six-month supply)
  96. Rain barrels
  97. Rice and beans (see also buckets of food)
  98. Respirator – Niosh certified (e.g., N100 or N95)
  99. Salt
  100. Saw, plus saw horses, clamp
  101. Screwdriver and screws
  102. Seed vault (non-GMO, heirloom seeds)
  103. Sewing Kit –  sewing notions (needles, thread, sewing awl),
    patterns, treadle-powered sewing machine
  104. Soaps – Zote laundry soap
  105. Solar chargers  – cell phone solar batteries
  106. Shoe repair –inserts, laces (or thin paracord), rubber heels
    savers and soles. Shoe Goo
  107. Shovel and spade
  108. Silver and colloidal silver
  109. Spices
  110. SuperGlue
  111. Survival Guide – (we recommend Mykel Hawke’s Survival
  112. Steramine tablets
  113. Tarps (green or camouflaged, not blue)
  114. Tea
  115. Tent, car camper recreational vehicle, temporary shelter or
    bugout location
  116. Toilet paper
  117. Thermometer, no touch (infrared) or disposable, digital and
  118. Vaseline
  119. Vinegar
  120. Vehicle essentials – jumper cables, fluids, tire repair kit, tire
    chains, tow straps
  121. WD-40  –  a good all-around lubricant
  122. Wood, seasoned.
  123. WaterBob ~ bathtub water liner
  124. Water purification ~ tablets
  125. Water filtration system ~ gravity fed water filters, like a  
    Berkey or a Lifestraw
  126. Water Storage. If you have kids, you’ll want a 260-gallon
    water tank that will ensure a family of four has water for
    three months.
  127. Yeast
  128. Zeer pot or alternate refrigeration
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You’re Not Alone: The Growing Movement of Preppers

Prepping is no longer a fringe activity reserved for conspiracy theorists and doomsday preachers. It has evolved into a widespread movement embraced by millions of individuals from all walks of life. These rational people have recognized the need to take preparedness seriously in our ever-changing world.

Prepper Basics List

What is driving this growing movement?

People are realizing that they cannot rely solely on external help during times of crisis.

Whether it’s a natural disaster, economic collapse, or societal unrest, being self-sufficient and prepared can make a significant difference in their ability to survive and thrive.

Prepping is not about extreme measures like building bunkers or stockpiling weapons; it’s about adopting a practical and proactive approach to reduce the chances of disruptions and better recover from them.

Preppers understand the importance of being self-reliant and self-sustainable. They invest time and effort into acquiring essential skills such as gardening, first aid, and basic home repairs. They learn to create emergency plans, build resilience, and adapt to changing circumstances. Prepping is about being prepared for any situation and having the ability to adapt and overcome challenges.

Join the growing movement of preppers and take control of your future. By embracing the principles of preparedness, you can increase your chances of survival and provide security for yourself and your loved ones. Remember, being prepared is not just about surviving a crisis; it’s about thriving in the face of adversity.

Prepping in Action: Real Stories from Preppers

“Becoming a prepper has given me peace of mind knowing that I have taken steps to protect my family in a world of uncertainties. It’s empowering to be self-reliant and know that I have the skills and resources to overcome challenges.” – Sarah, a prepper from California

“Prepping has allowed me to become more self-sufficient, not just during emergencies but also in everyday life. Learning skills like gardening and food preservation has made me more resilient and reduced my dependence on the modern system.” – Mark, a prepper from Texas

The Benefits of Preparedness

Embracing the prepping lifestyle offers several benefits beyond the obvious advantages during times of crisis. It fosters a sense of self-empowerment and personal growth as you acquire new skills and knowledge. It also provides a sense of security and peace of mind, knowing that you are prepared for the unexpected. Additionally, prepping can bring you closer to your community as you connect with like-minded individuals who share your values and goals.

Tips and Common Mistakes in Prepping


When it comes to prepping, it’s important to navigate the journey with caution. Avoiding common mistakes can make all the difference in your preparedness efforts. Here are some key tips to help you prep well and steer clear of pitfalls:

  • Don’t buy off-the-shelf kits: While they may seem convenient, off-the-shelf prepping kits often contain unnecessary items that won’t meet your specific needs. It’s best to focus on the essentials and build your own customized kit.
  • Avoid zombie and Rambo fantasies: Prepping should be rooted in practicality and preparedness for likely scenarios rather than sensationalized Hollywood fantasies. Stay grounded and focus on real-world emergencies.
  • Connect with like-minded people: Building a network of individuals who share your interest in prepping can provide invaluable support and knowledge-sharing opportunities. Seek out community groups, forums, or local meetups to connect with fellow preppers.
  • Avoid double-dipping your gear: It’s essential to avoid duplicating supplies unnecessarily. Before purchasing new equipment or supplies, take inventory of what you already have and ensure you’re not overlapping.
  • Invest in quality supplies: While it may be tempting to opt for cheaper alternatives, investing in high-quality supplies will ensure they can withstand the test of time and perform reliably when needed. Don’t compromise on the essentials.
  • Practice with your gear: Having the right gear is essential, but knowing how to use it effectively is equally important. Regularly practice using your equipment and familiarize yourself with its functionalities to maximize its effectiveness during emergencies.
  • Avoid assumptions in your preps: Rather than making assumptions about what may or may not happen, base your prepping efforts on thorough research and analysis of the most likely risks you may face. Tailor your preparations accordingly.

By keeping these tips in mind and avoiding common mistakes, you can enhance your prepping journey and be better prepared for any crisis that may come your way.

“Prepping is not about fear; it’s about empowerment. By taking proactive steps to prepare for potential emergencies, we can gain confidence and peace of mind knowing that we have the necessary tools and resources to navigate challenging situations.”

Essential Prepping Skills

As you embark on your prepping journey, it’s important to develop essential skills that will enhance your self-reliance and ability to survive in crisis situations. Here are some key skills to consider:

  1. First Aid and Medical Skills: Knowing basic first aid techniques and how to provide medical care in emergency situations is crucial.
  2. Food Preservation and Gardening: Learning how to store food for long-term use and cultivating your own garden can provide a sustainable source of nutrition.
  3. Fire Building and Cooking: Being able to start a fire and cook meals using alternative methods can be essential when electricity and gas are unavailable.
  4. Navigation and Orienteering: Familiarize yourself with map reading, compass use, and navigation techniques to find your way in unfamiliar terrain.
  5. Self-Defense and Security: Understanding self-defense techniques and implementing security measures can help protect yourself and your loved ones during crisis situations.
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By acquiring these skills and continuously expanding your knowledge, you’ll become a well-rounded prepper capable of handling a wide range of scenarios.

Table: Common Prepping Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

MistakeHow to Avoid It
Buying off-the-shelf kitsFocus on the essentials and build a customized kit based on your specific needs.
Overlooking practicalityStay grounded and focus on real-world emergencies rather than sensationalized fantasies.
Failing to connect with like-minded peopleJoin prepping communities or groups to connect with others and share knowledge.
Duplicating suppliesTake inventory of your existing supplies before purchasing new items to avoid unnecessary duplicates.
Settling for low-quality suppliesInvest in high-quality supplies that will perform reliably when needed.
Not practicing with your gearRegularly practice using your equipment to ensure familiarity and maximize effectiveness.
Relying on assumptionsBase your preps on thorough research and analysis of likely risks rather than making assumptions.

By avoiding these common mistakes and prioritizing your prepping efforts, you’ll be well on your way to building a strong foundation and being prepared for any crisis that may arise.

Planning Based on Your Risks

When it comes to prepping, one size does not fit all. Planning for risks requires a customized approach that takes into account your specific circumstances and local hazards.

While there are common essentials that apply to most scenarios, it’s important to identify the risks that are most relevant to your location and prioritize your preparations accordingly.

Start by conducting a thorough assessment of the potential risks in your area. Consider natural disasters such as hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, or wildfires that are common in your region. Additionally, evaluate the likelihood of human-made threats like terrorist attacks or civil unrest that could impact your community.

Once you have identified the specific risks you’re likely to face, create a prepper checklist tailored to your needs. This checklist should include the essential items and skills necessary to mitigate and survive those risks. For example, if you live in an earthquake-prone area, you may need to focus on securing heavy furniture, storing emergency food and water, and learning first aid skills for earthquake-related injuries.

Table: Customized Preps Checklist

Natural disasters (e.g., hurricanes, floods, wildfires)Emergency food and water supplies, evacuation plan, protective gear
Human-made threats (e.g., terrorist attacks, civil unrest)Home security measures, self-defense training, emergency communication devices
Health emergencies (e.g., pandemics, epidemics)Medical supplies, sanitation supplies, knowledge of basic first aid

Remember, planning for risks is an ongoing process. Stay informed about potential threats and adapt your preparations as needed. Regularly update your prepper checklist and review your supplies to ensure they are up to date and in working order. By customizing your preps based on your risks, you can increase your chances of successfully navigating any crisis that comes your way.

Maslow’s Hierarchy and the Pareto 80-20 Rule in Prepping

When it comes to emergency preparedness, understanding Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and the Pareto 80-20 rule can help prioritize your prepping efforts.

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs states that certain needs must be met before moving on to higher-level needs. This concept can be applied to prepping by focusing on the essentials first.

The Pareto 80-20 rule, also known as the law of the vital few, suggests that 80% of the results come from 20% of the effort. In prepping, this means that by focusing on the most important tasks and preparations, you can achieve significant progress toward being self-sufficient during a crisis.

“In prepping, it’s essential to prioritize based on importance and ensure that the vital few preparations are in place before dedicating time and resources to less critical tasks.” – Prepper Expert

Applying these principles to prepping means prioritizing the core needs for survival: air, water, shelter, and food. These are the foundation upon which all other preparations should be built. Once these essentials are secured, you can then allocate resources to secondary needs such as security, medical supplies, and communication devices.

Applying Maslow’s Hierarchy and the Pareto 80-20 Rule in Prepping

Below is a table outlining the prioritization of prepping tasks based on Maslow’s hierarchy and the Pareto 80-20 rule:

LevelPrepping Priority
Physiological NeedsStockpile food, water, and basic medical supplies
Safety NeedsSecure your home, learn self-defense, and have a bug-out bag ready
Love and BelongingEstablish a network of like-minded individuals and join local prepper communities
Esteem NeedsDevelop skills such as first aid, self-defense, and gardening
Self-ActualizationEnhance your knowledge and skills in advanced survival techniques
Maslow's Hierarchy and the Pareto 80-20 Rule in Prepping

By following this prioritization framework, you can ensure that your prepping efforts are focused on the most critical tasks and preparations. Remember, it is important to tailor your preparations to your specific risks and circumstances. Use Maslow’s hierarchy and the Pareto 80-20 rule as guiding principles to create a comprehensive and effective prepping plan.

Step 1: Money and Health as Foundation for Prepping

Before diving into the world of prepping gear and supplies, it’s essential to establish a solid financial foundation and prioritize personal health. These two factors lay the groundwork for effective emergency preparedness and ensure that your efforts to safeguard yourself and your loved ones are not compromised.

Financial Preparedness: Building a rainy day fund should be the first step in your prepping journey. Aim to save at least three to six months’ worth of living expenses to provide a buffer during uncertain times. Reduce debt and focus on creating a budget that allows you to allocate funds for emergency supplies, food storage, and other prepping essentials. Remember, financial stability enables you to navigate any crisis with greater ease.

Personal Health: Good health is crucial for surviving and thriving during emergencies. Take the time to address any existing medical issues and ensure you have adequate health insurance coverage. Schedule regular check-ups with your healthcare provider and maintain a well-balanced diet and exercise routine. By prioritizing your health, you’ll be better equipped to handle the physical and mental demands of preparing for and navigating through a crisis.

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Why Money and Health are the Foundation for Prepping

“Without financial stability and good health, your prepping efforts can be compromised. Make these priorities before moving on to other prepping steps.”

By focusing on financial preparedness and personal health as the initial steps in your prepping journey, you set a solid foundation for future efforts. These steps ensure that you have the necessary resources and resilience to face any crisis head-on. Remember, a prepper’s mindset is not just about buying gear; it’s about creating a sustainable and well-rounded lifestyle that prepares you for any situation.

Step 2: Get Your Home Ready for Self-Reliance

Preparing your home is a critical step in becoming self-reliant during a crisis. By stockpiling essential items and fortifying your home, you can ensure that you have the resources and security needed to ride out any emergency.

To begin, it’s important to create a stockpile of essentials such as food, water, and medicine.

Aim to have at least a two-week supply of these items to sustain yourself and your family.

Consider the specific needs of your household members, including any dietary restrictions or medical conditions.

In addition to stockpiling essentials, it’s crucial to have backup power sources and communication devices. Invest in generators, solar panels, or battery-powered backups to ensure you have access to electricity during a prolonged outage. Also, have a reliable means of communication such as a two-way radio or satellite phone, as traditional communication methods may fail during a crisis.

To enhance the security of your home, consider installing additional measures such as reinforced doors and windows, security cameras, and motion-activated lights. Develop an emergency plan that includes protocols for intrusions and potential threats. Communicate these protocols with your family members and ensure everyone knows how to respond in different scenarios.

Table: Essential Items for Home Preparedness

FoodCanned goods, non-perishable food, dry goods
WaterBottled water, water filters, water storage containers
MedicinePrescription medications, first aid kit, over-the-counter drugs
PowerGenerators, solar panels, batteries
CommunicationTwo-way radios, satellite phones
SecurityReinforced doors and windows, security cameras, motion-activated lights

Being prepared at home is crucial for riding out any crisis. By stockpiling essential items, ensuring backup power, and fortifying your home’s security, you can increase your self-reliance and protect your loved ones.

Remember, self-reliance starts with your home. Take the necessary steps to create a well-equipped and secure environment that can sustain you during times of crisis. With careful planning and preparation, you can be confident in your ability to weather any storm.

Step 3: Bug Out Bags for Emergency Evacuation

When faced with an emergency that requires you to leave your home quickly, having a well-prepared bug out bag is essential. A bug out bag is a portable kit filled with essential supplies that can sustain you and your loved ones for at least 72 hours away from home. It should be lightweight and easily accessible, allowing you to grab it and go at a moment’s notice.

Your bug out bag should contain a variety of essential supplies to meet your basic needs. Start by including non-perishable food items that are easy to prepare and require minimal water. Pack enough food to sustain each person for at least three days. Don’t forget to include a can opener, utensils, and a mess kit.

Water is another crucial element of your bug out bag. Include water purification tablets or a portable water filter to ensure a safe drinking supply. Aim for at least one gallon of water per person per day, and don’t forget to pack a water bottle or hydration bladder for each person in your party.

Other essential items to include in your bug out bag are extra clothing, a first aid kit, a flashlight, a multi-tool, a fire starter, a portable shelter or tent, personal hygiene items, and any necessary medication. It’s important to regularly review and update your bug out bag to ensure it remains up to date and meets your specific needs.

Essential Supplies for Bug Out Bags
Non-perishable food items and can opener
Water purification tablets or portable water filter
One gallon of water per person per day
Extra clothing
First aid kit
Fire starter
Portable shelter or tent
Personal hygiene items
Necessary medication

Remember to customize your bug out bag based on your unique needs and the specific risks in your area. Consider the climate, terrain, and potential hazards when selecting the items to include. Regularly review and rotate the contents of your bag to ensure everything is in working order and has not expired.

Stay Prepared for Any Emergency

Having a well-stocked bug out bag is an essential part of emergency preparedness. It provides you with the necessary supplies to sustain yourself and your loved ones during an evacuation. By packing your bug out bag with the right essentials and regularly maintaining it, you can stay prepared and increase your chances of survival in any emergency situation.


In conclusion, prepping is a growing movement of individuals who are taking preparedness seriously. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can build a solid foundation for prepping, prepare your home, pack bug-out bags, and learn essential skills. These prepping essentials are crucial to surviving any crisis.

Remember to prioritize your preparations based on your specific risks and customize your preps accordingly. By practicing with your gear and avoiding common mistakes, you can ensure that you are well-prepared for any scenario that may arise.

With the right knowledge and preparation, you can face any crisis with confidence. So start your prepping journey today, create your prepper basics list, and equip yourself with the essential skills and supplies needed to survive any crisis that may come your way.


What is prepping?

Prepping is about reducing the chances of major disruptions and being able to recover from them. It involves preparing yourself, your home, and your supplies for potential emergencies or crises.

Why should I start prepping?

Whether you’re worried about layoffs, natural disasters, or societal decline, it’s crucial to start preparing now. Prepping helps you be self-reliant and better equipped to handle unexpected situations.

What are the common mistakes to avoid in prepping?

Common mistakes include buying off-the-shelf kits, focusing on unrealistic scenarios, letting prepping overwhelm you, and not practicing with your gear. It’s important to invest in quality supplies and customize your preparations based on your specific risks.

How should I prioritize my prepping efforts?

Prioritize your prepping based on importance and the 80-20 rule. Focus on the essentials like air, water, and shelter first, as they will cover a majority of scenarios. Then, add specifics based on your local risks.

What should I do before investing in gear and supplies?

Before investing, ensure you have a solid financial foundation, including a rainy day fund, reduced debt, and a budget. Address any medical issues and ensure you have adequate health insurance. Financial stability and good health are crucial for effective prepping.

How can I prepare my home for self-reliance?

Stockpile essential items like food, water, and medicine to last at least two weeks. Have backup power sources, communication devices, and an emergency plan in place. Strengthen your home’s security and fortify it against potential intrusions.

What should I pack in a bug out bag?

A bug out bag should contain essential supplies like food, water, clothing, tools, and first aid items. It should be lightweight, portable, and contain everything you need to survive for at least 72 hours away from home.

What is the ultimate goal of prepping?

The ultimate goal of prepping is to be well-prepared for any crisis or emergency. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can build a solid foundation, prepare your home, pack bug out bags, and learn essential skills to survive any challenge that comes your way.

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