Essentials of Prepping – Reiterating the Essentials for Survival


It’s easy to go overboard when it comes to prepping. But with all the movies and other entertainment out there, why wouldn’t it be? Movies such as Mad Max and The Book of Eli come to mind, in addition to shows Falling Skies or video games like Fallout 3. How far is too far, though? Should you start planning on how you’ll loot supply lines or defend your home against invaders? Probably not but it is easy (and enjoyable) to ponder similar topics. Prepping is a slippery slope and sometimes it’s easy to forget the fundamentals.

Three Central Tenets

Prepping comes down to being able to survive. What do people need to survive? Well for one there’s water, we need it to live. Second is food, eating is a necessary function of maintaining a healthy body and high energy levels. Remember during the Y2K scare and people were stocking up on gallons of water? It’s because you don’t just need water to drink. You also need to cook with it, wash with it, and a host of other personal uses. Last is shelter. Shelter is you and your family’s form of protection against the weather, it is a safe zone for you and your family members, and it can serve as an area for storing resources. Each of these three essentials is important and necessary for survival and prepping for uncertain times.  


Being shielded from the elements and keeping warm during the cold months of winter are crucial to survival. Imagine living outdoors and in the elements with no roof above your head to divert the rain or snow, or walls to shield you from powerful winds.


We take fresh water for granted. A toilet uses more than a gallon of water each time it is flushed. And according to a credible source, the average person flushes the toilet five times per day. Water is used in our consumables; soft drinks, medicine, lotion, shampoo, cleaning agents, canned foods. It is also an essential aspect to many industrial processes. Water is also a source of electricity and powers your home. When heated, water turns into steam and can power machinery. These are only a small number of water’s vast resources.

Only 2.5% of Earth’s water supply is of the fresh variety, according to an article by the United States Geological Survey. This means all those water uses outlined above have to fit in this small percentage of water. Couple this with any given economic or environmental disaster, and water will be one of the (if not the) most valuable resource. The importance of conserving fresh water and utilizing every drop cannot be stressed enough.


Food is our source of energy. It is what allows us to perform the daily activities necessary to thrive and succeed as human beings. Food is to humans as gasoline is to cars. It provides our bodies with the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals it needs. Keeping our bodies healthy during times of peace and prosperity is difficult enough, but once life becomes unstable it will double as a top priority to survival.  

Prepping is just like establishing an emergency fund when it comes to your personal finance, except you’re saving resources instead of dollars. Your prepping shouldn’t be as extreme as some of the things you may see on television; you don’t need an expensive underground bunker with walls of steel 3 feet thick, the fastest security system on the market, or a weapons cache with enough ammunition for 20 years of extended combat. Procure the necessities for you to live. Imagine living off these resources for 3-6 months. If you can do that, you will have successfully prepped and are ready for SHTF.

Riley Harkins enjoys educating others about prepping, survival, and personal security. He writes for SafeMart and experiments with some of the most advanced security technology on the market.


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  1. PR Superb post as always.You were so wise to have moved.
    Aliens may well be a God send as they may be rescuing us with advanced technology-time will tell.Remember Ets healing finger-smile !!) All joking aside –
    essentials are priority first.
    I strongly encourage everyone who hasnt exp. a duration w/o power etc for several days to purposely take time and run a scenario-it will help you know what you are missing
    and how to better prepare. New to prepping get a few good books. I recommend The Long emergency by James W , Emergency Preparedness and Survival Guide by Backwoods Home Magazine,LDS Preparedness Manual -superb-complete 505pp. When Technology Fails by Matthew Stein.
    As a long term prepper I have found that yes we have most necessary items stored and this winter when the roads were so snowy and icy we used some of our stored food and soon will be replacing it. My question do other preppers ever feel burned out ? I am at that place and hopefully the spring weather will restore my enthusiasm. I await your wisdom folks. God bless. Arlene

  2. Riley,

    At one time I owned a remote ranch that produced excess food and energy. That ranch was located in a semi-arid region. Then came 2008. Sufficient reserves were in place to easily weather the financial problems of that troubled year – but the weather. For us in the Texas Panhandle, it was a time of low rainfall and high wind. Total rainfall that year on the ranch was less than three inches. The grass never turned green and remained winter brown and the soil developed deep cracks. I broke out the desert goggles to protect my eyes from the blowing sand. The next year was better, we received about five inches of rain and there were a few spots of green in low areas. Absent electricity and modern transportation, one would need multiple years of stored food. There was a lot of water in the Ogallala 400 feet below the prairie. Windmills tirelessly raised water and needed frequent repair from the high winds. Electrically powered deep submersion pumps worked overtime. Without these pumps all of the animals would have died. One could water a garden from the windmill runoff but high heat and tireless wind would leach water from the soil and plants. Trees turned brown and died. This was an awakening for me.

    Water is indeed a priority. I specifically relocated from a semi-arid region to a remote mountain location well watered by the good Lord. As a result, the garden needs little or no supplemental watering. even so, premium water filters are still essential. I like the highly portable Katadyn classic for both the bag and the first access deep cache. Of course one should have several large capacity table top units with spare filters.

    The threat countermeasures any of us set aside are necessarily dependent upon our economic and mental resources. Before even considering prepping as life style, I ensured my family had good shelter with an alternate, water, ample food to eat, methodology to protect person and property, and sufficient specie to meet financial emergency.

    Prepping supplies came out of any remaining largess and focused on the presumed most immediate threat and then progressing to the less likely. The amount of largess determines the least likely threat that is prepped against.

    EMP either manmade or solar remains a primary concern, followed by radiological emergency, large scale societal emergency not proceeding from the forenamed, and economic collapse. I suppose invasion from space aliens might be on the threat board but if so, would be so lowly prioritized that few if any specific countermeasure resources would ever be stocked toward that threat. To whit, I laid in protected force multiplying electronics such as H/Ts, NVGs, vehicle and small motor ignition components, cached reserve weapons and ammunition, medical supplies and antibiotics, radiation monitoring instruments, extra reserve hard specie such as gold and silver, and so forth.

    I highly recommend the beginning prepper secure both shelter and an alternate, water of course, renewable food sources (garden, chickens, goats, cattle), at least two years of stored food reserves, sufficient weapons and methodology to defend person and property, and specie to meet financial emergency. When these needs are met, then one should begin stocking countermeasures against increasingly remote threats.


  3. Arlene,

    Thank you for your kind comment but it is Riley to whom we should thank for the thoughtful post. As a Christian, I cringe to recommend the LDS manual and do so with the caveat that one must disregard the cult information so liberally sprinkled inside. Your list is great but for pure fiction, I like the Thomas Sherry DEEP WINTER series What a shame mainline Christian organizations like the Catholic or Baptist haven’t the strong LDC predilection toward preparedness.

    What with our history of alien colonization of new lands on this planet, I doubt any real off world aliens would be helpful. Having lived on an Indian reservation in my youth, I find handouts, offensive and destructive to individual initiative.


  4. PR- I am a Christian also but I believe God sends truth in various ways.
    I am not a Mormon but I must give them credit for their preparedness expertise and the fact that they allow anyone to use their manual for inf. or copying as long as someone doesnt sell it for profit and they sell it at cost of printing.
    I also recommend Marys Message to the World by Annie Kirkwood Blue Dolphin Pub. POBox 1908 Nevada City,Calif. 95959. These books were pub in the 1980s and Mother Mary has predicted many of the problems that have occurred and will continue to occur re climate issues etc.She tells us to PRAY and to prepare our souls as we prep.Even if one isnt Catholic (the author isnt) much exc. inf is in this book.There isnt any talk of converting
    in this book.
    I will check out the Deep Winter series.
    I agree that we must each be responsible for our lives and choices.You sound like a very hard working,responsible,faith filled man.Your family is very blessed.
    I keep prepping and praying. Arlene

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