How to Start Prepping for Beginners

Last Updated: September 11, 2022

How does a person start preparing for disasters?

Here’s a walkthrough on preparation from square one.

how to start prepping

If anything has been proven lately, it’s that the world isn’t as safe as it appears to be. Families have gone weeks without access to normal food options, nations have gone to war, and supply chains throughout the world remain disrupted.

Recognize that in an emergency, if you have what you need when you need it, you have the advantage.

You have already started to address this fear in your search and now, you have arrived at the starting point of preparation.

We have chosen to take control of your future and put our family into safer hands.

Because, we believe that the organizations aren’t infallible, and we will be prepared for the worst.

When All Hell Breaks Loose

“When the shit hits the fan, that’s when things get ugly.”


SHTF is an acronym for when your situation has suddenly taken a turn for the worst. Whether it is a fire that’s broken out in the middle of a dry summer or international food storage, SHTF is when most unprepared people panic and the prepper is checking off boxes on their checklist.

Emergency Prepping

An emergency is any event that overwhelms your current ability to manage it. Be it nuclear war or losing your job; the first priority is always survival.

Millions of people around the world have taken the responsibility to prepare. They store food, secure their water supply, and create a bug-out or emergency action plan. All to reduce the negative impact on themselves, their group, and their families.

Born from your average Joe, regular people have become adept survivalists. They cultivate their skills in trauma first-aid. Self-defense and physical conditioning become priorities. They learn how to forage and build.

It doesn’t take a bunker to survive job loss. Coping with inconveniences in your daily life only takes forethought and effort.

Forethought to have the supplies, gear, and the effort to gain the skills.

That’s emergency prepping.

Now Is the Time to Get Started

We’ve all seen the trends over the past few years.

Political, societal, and natural. Don’t you ever feel like the world has gone crazy?

Now is the time to begin.

If you wait, food is only going to get scarcer. Money will buy less. People will become more and more irrational. Most of all, you will have less time to learn what you need to know.

The truth is many people around you already prep. It’s just knowing what to do in an emergency when others are still wondering. It’s the people at Costco who buy a little bit more bulk staple items on their grocery runs. There’s a prepper in all of us, not just the image of the grizzled mountain man survivalist.

We are out there and we are here to help.

Your average prepper simply wants to protect their family when times get tough.

That’s it, that’s all.

You don’t need a bunker filled with guns and ammo. Remember, the average American household has less than a 72-hour supply of emergency supplies.

They have a food storage system in construction, with constant improvements.

And we go quietly about our daily lives. Just like you can.

American Patriot Survivalist is the Most Updated Resource for Survivalists and Preppers

Here at, we pride ourselves on being the most updated resource for the sharing of useful prepping information. Our staff pulls from hours of devote fact-checking over generations of knowledge. Then, we prepare and organize it nicely for you, accurately, and to be enjoyed.

Readers seek out our articles daily. They learn and grow from the information shared via each post.

For example, we have over 200 articles where we cover as many of the most important survival topics we can muster. Expert knowledge in food, bug-out bags, survival kits, water filtration, shelter, gear, and recipes are all found on our pages.

You’ve come to the right place to not only get started but also to hone & perfect your own skills!

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Quick Start Tips and Common Mistakes

Let’s begin with several guidelines to follow and pitfalls to avoid. With a bit of a guide, the right path to preparedness is in securing the future for you and your loved ones.

Preparation Guidelines

green checkmarkStart With a Plan

Like much in life, you will thrive if you have purpose and direction. Acquiring gear and buying food out of panic wastes time, energy, and funds. Without purpose, your purchases have the potential to fill your stores with meals you won’t eat and tools you will never use.

Creating a plan and carefully mapping out your preparedness strategy in line with your goals focuses your efforts and money.

green checkmarkLittle by Little.

Prepping is a marathon, not a sprint. It is a series of improvements over time with foresight.

Once your plan is developed, be flexible as products evolve and technology changes your options.

You don’t need to be done before the next crisis hits. You just need to be a little more prepared every day.

As you find your talents and how they apply to survivalism, you’ll build your skills in line with your gear inventory and food supply.

As your preferences for certain ways tools are handled, or certain plants and recipes you enjoy working with, you find your unique rewards from your efforts.

green checkmarkChoose and Store Long-Term Food Wisely

A key to survival is long-term food storage.

Begin your prepping journey with homemade recipes and integrate your family’s meals with your daily rotation of food stocks. The construction of your long-term food storage is done phase by phase while making sure nothing goes to waste.

green checkmarkBecome Medically Prepared

Medical training. If the worst comes to pass you will be your only first responder. Doctors in any emergency are in high demand and they won’t always be able to help you. The ability to handle medical situations is the difference between life and death.

You don’t have to become a certified paramedic or a surgeon. You just need to know how to handle those precious seconds and minutes directly after an emergency…with the right tourniquet to prevent bleeding out.

Your emergency supply should include the means to handle everything from natural remedies to teeth, cuts, broken bones, and heart attacks. Know the initial treatment steps and how not to make the situation worse. When you have time, one could begin reading all of the U.S. Military manuals on field medicine.

green checkmarkSet up, Pack, and Locate Your Bug Out Bag and Bug Out Location

Finally, your Bug Out Bag (B.O.B) is your friend. This is one pack/kit that will get you through the first critical days of a disaster and beyond.

Your Bug Out Location (B.O.L) can be any destination that gets you and your family away from danger. In other words, this can be a friend’s property, a distant farmhouse during a natural disaster, or your prepared, crafted rural homestead.

Your bug out bag or bug out location does not need to be expensive nor climate-controlled.

Your B.O.B and B.O.I just need to get you out of the critical area and marked safe.

Decide What You Are Prepping For

Every person must decide for themselves what to prepare for. We are all unique and live in very different places.

Start with what preppers call a threat matrix.

This is a simple list of the most probable to least probable disruptions in your area. Then, figure out how disruptive each can be and find the solution for it. That’s the start of your project list.

Some view preparation as disaster preparation, while others see it as a way to improve their homestead. Others lose their jobs and find a way to make ends meet within the financial limits they have. Sometimes, someone we love gets sick and it changes everything about the way we live.

That’s when a healthy food storage supply that doesn’t need to be paid for comes in handy.

Other times, a tsunami hits and your level of preparation was the difference between life and death. Where you live determines the natural disasters you are to prep for.

Your interpretation of local, national, and world events guides the social threats you see in your future.

  • Do you live in a rural or urban area?
  • Do you have a month worth of food?
  • If your water and power are shut off, how long can you live comfortably?

Pull out your pen and paper and start on your list. Start with the smallest, most frequent potential problems. Once you can say you’re prepared for these, move on to larger threats.

How to Start Prepping in 5 Steps

Preparation is pretty easy actually. There are only five components.

Here for you, we have cleared the path to basic preparedness down to 6 steps.

#1 What Should You Have In Your Bug Out Bag?

got my bug out bag ready!

First, knowing which essentials to prioritize in your bug out bag is a must. To survive an unexpected disaster, starts with your pack.

Make sure your bug out bag address these needs:

  • Water Tools
  • Food Supplies
  • Warmth Supplies
  • Shelter and Bedding Options
  • Fire Starting Tools
  • First Aid Supplies
  • Core Survival Tools
  • Lighting Tools
  • Communication Devices
  • Self-Defense Tools

#2 Decide on a Sustainable Water Source

Secondly, identify a water source. The Rule of Threes states that after three days without water life is in jeopardy. Dehydration can decrease your ability to function or leave you vulnerable.

Beware – 10,000 people die every single day because of drinking dirty water.  All water must be considered unsafe until purified or sanitized. If you’re prepared with firewood, and a way to boil water, you’ll be able to kill any unseen bacteria by boiling the water.

To combat this, you need a sustainable source of water for yourself and your family.

You can store water, but at the recommended 1 gallon per person per day, it adds up quickly.

For even the shortest emergencies this can be an unwieldy amount of water.

Nonetheless, the 1-gallon rule is the absolute minimum.

If you wish to drink, cook, clean dishes, and tend to personal hygiene, You should plan on 5 gallons of water per person per day. While you need water storage, it is better to have a running water source.

A sustainable source includes running water: rivers, streams, and brooks. Larger bodies of water are lakes, ponds, and artesian wells.

Or, just pick up a Life-Straw.

Life Straw by Vestergaard

A good water filter will remove all the particulates from your water such as dirt or soot, but a great one will also remove the most harmful bacteria as well.

#3 Build a Food Supply

After water, food is next within the rule of threes. Three weeks without food and your life is in jeopardy.

The key to food for preppers is storage time. While a cupboard full of canned goods and loose rice is nice; you can indeed prepare food that will be just as good decades later.

The best long-term storage foods are the prepper basics: rice, beans, oats, wheat, and pasta. A large portion of the world lives on little more than beans and rice. You can too.

Each of these items is cheap when bought in bulk. This is perfect for the majority of your calories, balancing your pantry both in variety and nutrition.

Fight food fatigue (having the same meal over and over) by adding a range of food items to your pantry for the sake of your sanity and health.

Canned goods last well beyond the printed “Best By” date. Each week buy more than you need and put the newest on the back of the shelf. Try to always cook from cans in the front. Copy-canning is a great grocery store method to rotate stock and keep it up-to-date.

Storing variety not only provides you with meal options it also balances out your nutrition.

Finally, look into the wonders of freeze-drying.

#4 Your Tools and Gear

Fourth, gather your gear. We LOVE gear. The neater, the more dependable, the more well-built, the more we love it.

Remember to refer to your threat matrix and decide what tools and gear will add potential skills-building in line with your survival needs. Start with the basic categories:

  • Hygiene
  • Health
  • Communications

For example, toilet paper, soap, toothpaste, medical supplies, and a few hand-held radios top your list of gear.

Urban preppers will want to be able to open water spigots with a Sillcock key.  But, not only can you open spigots, but also gas valves and other piping.

Rural survivor tools may include hand tools for gardening and construction as well as hunting, fishing, and trapping supplies.

Homesteaders tend to look at their preparation systems holistically; every need is integrated into property improvements.

#5 Homesteading & Gardening

Last, become more self-sufficient. The path to preparedness includes growing your own vegetables and independence from a grid.

Homesteading is the ultimate approach to survival. On a homestead, you can grow, raise, and produce most of your group’s needs.

Food management on the homestead is divided into gardening, hunting, gathering, and preservation.

The ability to store food during the abundant season of the harvest is a way to main your food stores. Canning and other preservations skills ensure a variety of food year-round.

The most extreme events on the threat matrix include the failure of our electrical grid. Whether it be a cyber-attack, EMP, or nuclear winter.

The advent and development of solar technology create opportunities in cutting your power costs and ultimately, can power all of your devices independently. Other sustainable energy technology products are just a few clicks away on Amazon.

The homeowner on a well-selected bit of land has limitless opportunities for self-sufficiency in 2022.


Every person who decides to prepare is unique. Their family, finances, and geographic location all combine to form personalized preparation.

Each region of the country has its weather patterns. Mother nature can be the most awesome force on the planet when angered. Heatwaves, mass cow deathshurricanes, earthquakes, and tsunamis all spread devastation. No matter where you live there is potential for civil disruption or natural disaster.

“Always Be Ready” Max

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