The Best Time to Start Prepping Is Right Now

All one has to do is turn on the TV or open a tab on your internet browser to get a glimpse of all the disasters that can occur on this tiny, blue marble hurtling through space.

Tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, volcanoes, meteor strikes, tsunamis, war, famine, pestilence and societal unrest. These are just a few of the existential terrors that have stalked the Earth since it was young.

Just over the past few years there has been a lot of disasters on this small planet. There have been tsunamis, earthquakes, tornadoes – and more.

Nature is always threatening and if you are reading this then you are not unfamiliar to the man-made problems that can occur. The word seems – at least to me – to becoming more and more volatile and dangerous.

Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t, but one thing is for certain is the disaster can strike in any number of ways, anywhere and at any time.

When death comes up to your door and knocks you must be ready if you want to send him packing for another day. Nothing else will do.

If you care about your own life and the lives of your loved ones, the time to get prepared is now. Right now. Every day that you delay could bring you one day closer to your number coming up.

And without the right tools, the right skills and adequate experience you & yours can be just another digit on an ever increasing  number of casualties.

In today’s article, I will make a case for beginning your preparations for disaster and crisis readiness as soon as possible.

Critical Priorities to Take Care of ASAP

There are some problems that can crop up in life that will not suffer any measure of ill-preparation.

When the plane is going down, you had better have a parachute packed and strapped, and if you don’t, well then I guess doom on you.

When a violent criminal scumbag strides up to you and shoves a gun in your face or a knife in your belly and threatens you and your significant other what is shaking, stinking hands will you know what to do?

Do you know what the correct response is and how to determine it? This is a decision you must make and execute in an instant if you want to survive.

I could go on, coming up with more and more theoretical scenarios they could claim your life or your limbs on any given day.

Aside from stressing you out and putting a chunk of ice in your belly when you realize how unprepared you really are to deal with life’s various, deadly curve balls.

All this will really accomplish is giving you a list of “things to learn and do” as long as your arm. If you are like me that is likely just going to tank your motivation and your determination.

Since there is no way you can do everything in time, you might as well do nothing and stay right where you are.

This is the worst possible response. Yes, you will have a lot to do and an awful lot to learn.

But everybody started somewhere, and to whip out the fortune cookie wisdom a journey of a thousand miles will begin with a single step. Make sure you are ready, willing and able to take that step today.

You will not go from nobody to nomad overnight and you should not expect yourself to, but by taking just a couple of steps today, right now, after you finish this article, you will be more prepared tomorrow and your future self will be a better survivor then the person you were yesterday.

Food & Water

The vast majority of Americans have only a couple of day’s worth of food in their entire house, and that is being generous.

Chances are, they don’t even have enough consumable calories on hand to meet the energy and nutritional requirements for a family of four for just two days. Don’t believe me? It’s true.

And even if they do most won’t have any kind of food stuffs that will survive a significant disaster, one that sees the electrical or gas grid down for a lengthy period of time, meaning no microwave, no oven and no stove top.

Yes, it is entirely true that most people, Americans in particular, carry plenty of spare fuel around their mid sections in the form of highly portable but not particularly attractive fat reserves.

You can go for weeks or even a couple of months without food and remain alive. But relying on that is a strategy is incredibly short-sighted.

Have you considered what the rigors of survival will do to your body? Have you stopped to think how much energy you will need to get things done and to keep your situation sustainable until things get back to normal or help arrives?

Chances are you’ll be working your butt off, literally,  and even if you aren’t there is more than a fair chance that you’ll be facing more than 3 days or so without power in a sort of inside camping excursion with no internet and no lights.

You might be facing a prolonged crisis situation where you will literally be counting calories because you do not know where your next meal will come from or when you’ll ever be able to go back to a grocery again.

You don’t have to turn into a prepping superstar tomorrow with a small Warehouse full of food on your own private property.

You can follow DHS and FEMA guidelines and simply get a 3-day supply’s worth of food  for whatever size family you have under roof, which is around 2,000 calories a day, and shelf-stable, minimal prep meals. 

You also need to back this up with potable, bottled water that is Factory sealed and ready to drink. 

This needs to be a dedicated reserve a food that you do not draw for him until it starts to wear out or go stale, in which case you replace it.

This is, in essence, a single extra grocery carts worth of food for most people.

You can swing that on your next trip to the store, and if you can’t you can start adding just a few items each trip you do go to the grocery to build up this supply.

Once you have reached you goal of having supplies on hand for a week, increase the time frame to a month, then to two months, remember the idea is not do more than you are monetarily comfortable with.

There are some great alternatives to help save money, such as canning yourself, buying in bulk (Sam’s, Costco, and BJ’s) or coupons and circular mailings.

Online there are many places to order FD (freeze dried) or dehydrated products, again shop around before you buy, compare prices and shipping cost of each company.

I use Microsoft Excel and have my spreadsheet with me at all times, to add items or to shop for items.

Below is an example of a spreadsheet, I have one for food, medical, personal hygiene and seeds, which can be adjusted as needed and set to self calculate my cost for planning purposes.

Productshelf lifeservingson handneedremainingCostTotal
SpamTurkey5+ years 20266$2.78$16.68
Spam Bacon5+ years 17269$2.78$25.02
Spam5+ years 20266$2.78$16.68
Salmon5 to 6 yrs 405212$2.78$33.36
VienneSausage 2.5 per can106212106 $0.00
Tuna4 to 6 yrs 275225$2.00$50.00
Black Label Canned Ham  01212 $0.00
Ham24 months 22264$5.00$20.00
Chicken36 months 40488$2.00$16.00
Crab48 to 60 m 22220$2.00$0.00
Sausage Gravy  264 $0.00
Dried Beefforever 102616$1.88$30.08

Fill your cabinets and then fill totes. Buy spring water by the gallons. Store water in containers such as rinsed soft drink containers, even in your car.

Buy a water filter such as a Berkey, or at a minimum those you can find at Wal-Mart and Target.

The bottom line is – and although food prices have increased recently – you can find good deals and, with a little bit of money, you can buy quite a bit if you shop sales.


No matter who you are or where you live, if you want to be truly prepared for facing the dangers and rigors have a survival situation you have to be prepared for the threat posed by your fellow man, including the evil predators and those driven mad with desperation in their time of need.

It is an ugly thing to consider, but considerate you must because history furnishes plenty of examples where it comes down to “you or them”.

When some crazed stranger is brandishing a pipe ready to crack you in the head with it for your last can of tuna or you are charged by a handful of criminals intent on mayhem, and you will become keenly aware that it is not the time for “I’ll figure it out”.

No matter what you might think about yourself, your upbringing or your area learning to run a gun and do it well as a skill that is accessible to almost everyone.

Man or woman, young or old, big or small; just like there is a shoe for every foot there is a gun for every person and every task. The most important question is whether or not you have the mettle to get committed and become proficient.

Learning to shoot is a simple thing that can be done in an afternoon, but you can spend a lifetime mastering it…

… and beyond mere marksmanship, which is the ability to precisely and repeatedly place a round on a given target, learning how to really fight with a gun is an entirely separate set of skills, one of which marksmanship is only a component. 

Make no mistake: embarking upon the Way of the Gun is a lifestyle change, but one that you must embark on. But in this case the skills do little good without the tools. Do you have a gun? No..?

Get something! If you already have a firearm – great. Do you have plenty of ammunition? Do you have magazines for it? When was the last time you shot it?

You need to be able to use your firearm proficiently. Time for a reality check: There are a lot of bad people out there who are much, much better at interpersonal violence than you are. Can you defeat them?

Before you count on the firearm as a lucky charm that is certain to keep you safe from those who would hurt you, remember that the rabbit’s foot did not help the rabbit. 

If a significant disaster happens and you have supplies there will be those that do not have supplies and they will come to take yours. Don’t doubt that statement.

What guns are best has been discussed many times in many places but if you could only have one a shotgun is a pretty good choice.

What guns to have has been discussed many times – but if you could only have one  – a shotgun is a pretty good choice.


Lights and Tools

In almost every disaster situation imaginable be it man-made or naturally occurring you can depend on a prolonged loss of power.

This means that you and yours are going to become intimately acquainted with the darkness again…

… and I mean real darkness, not the half dark that is always kept more or less at bay by the perpetual glow on the horizon made by city lights, automobile headlamps and a hundred other lesser lights that glow and flicker within the homes throughout our communities.

You’ll be facing the primordial dark, one that can conceal all kinds of dangers.

Got flashlights? One of the first things to go in a disaster is power. Without power – once the sun goes down your ability to see will be gone as well.

Flashlights are incredibly powerful nowadays and relatively inexpensive. Buy several and have plenty of extra batteries.

I recommend getting ones with LED bulbs as they sip from the batteries and last a very long time. Battery operated lanterns as well as those run from oil or propane can be used to light up an entire room.

Beyond flashlights you will need other tools as well. You will not be able to count on electricity. Even gasoline power tools will find their fuel supplies very limited indeed during these trying times. The one fuel source you can rely on during a crisis is your own muscle.

That means you need muscle power tools, the same kinds of tools that your grandparents and great-grandparents made extensive use of before we all got fat, soft and happy thanks to our modern technological advancements. 

Seek out tools like axes, hammers, handsaws, pliers, screwdrivers, a trusty field knife, shovels, crowbars and more. Simple machines that get work done out of all proportion to their simplicity.

They are up to the task if you are, and there will be no shortage of work to be done in the aftermath of a disaster, both to build and to destroy.  To repair and to create.

Are you particularly handy? Are you a DIY sort of person or do you outsource specialist skills and know-how to paid professionals or to friends or family members who are more experienced than you are?

You will likely not have Google or YouTube during a crisis. If you are lucky you will have a paper-bound repair manual that can give you a leg up.

But lacking even that, do you have a good enough understanding of mechanical principles and troubleshooting techniques to make do? Are you creative enough to come up with a solution or an alternative?

If you answered “no” to any of those questions then it is time to roll up your sleeves and start doing things yourself.

Start tackling simple car repairs and home improvement tasks all on your own, first using your own wit and Ingenuity (so long as you can do so safely), only after becoming stumped falling back on expert advice found on the internet. Before you know it, you’ll be as crafty as anyone.


Many times during disasters both great and small your typical methods of communication, meaning cell phone and internet, will be degraded or completely offline.

Without a way to gather information electronically, you will have no way to ascertain how the situation is developing, good or bad, unless you hear it from oftentimes unreliable word-of-mouth or via a public-address broadcast.

The solution is not to go completely primitive, but instead to take a couple of steps back into more robust and self-contained versions of electronic communication.

Radio is the winner here, and if you want to ensure that you are not cut off as soon as the skies darken and left to wonder, alone with your thoughts, what is happening and when it might be over or how much worse it might possibly get you will need to grab a few specific radio sets and learn some radio communications basics.

Let’s talk! Sitting with your food, guns, and flashlights will be stressful enough without any method of contacting others, and finding out what is going on with the situation.

Have a battery or hand-crank powered radio available so you can listen for incoming news. If you have a battery powered radio have plenty of extra batteries on hand to feed it.

Have a battery or hand-crank powered radio available so you can listen for incoming news. If you have a battery powered radio-  have plenty of extra batteries.

If you are not alone and have family members-  get a pair or two of FRS/GMRS radios so that should someone need to leave your position to patrol, check shelter conditions, or whatever – you will have some method of communication.

Most likely in ny type of disaster cell phone service will be absent.

Medical/First Aid

In any crisis, in any disaster, any prepper worth the name must be capable of being their own first responder. In short, if you or yours get hurt you can never, ever depend on anyone coming to save the day.

Chances are police and EMS will be up to their necks in calls and carnage and will not have any way to get to you, or even find you, in a timely fashion. This assumes you are able to raise them at all on the phone…

The only solution is to learn the principles of first aid and basic trauma care and then keep stocked and keep handy a well-equipped first-aid kit that will give you the things you need in order to intervene medically when someone gets injured, be it from blunt force trauma, a penetrating or lacerating injury, an inhaled hazard, a burn or anything else.

Many disasters will produce injuries that are nothing short of ghoulish and you must be prepared to deal with them or else you or someone you care about will perish.

Get a good first-aid kit!  If you or a family member has a medical condition requiring medications -stock up on extras as much as you can.

Having a decent first aid kit is the first step in preparing for any kind of disaster when it comes to medical situations.

Stock up on extra rubbing alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, antibacterial hand sanitizer, Clorox bleach, and Lysol; they will assist in keeping sanitation-related illnesses at bay.

Final Words

Prepping is best done one step at a time, as not to become overwhelmed, which is a true setback. Food, water and medical are first concerns, where to go if needed would be next.

The ability to protect you and your family would be step three. Take each step one at a time, and learn to prep something daily, even if it is just writing down something in your notebook, as it teaches you daily preparedness.

Do remember that you still need to do special things for you and or your family, and prepping should not come at the cost of all pleasures, but you will find that prepping will give you different type of pleasure and that you will spend less on some of the superficial things and more on things that matter.

The last area is really a mental prep. Know that you might walk away from everything that you own in life to survive, and that you might never get those things back.

You must prepare yourself to do so, and you must be able to help others with this especially little one and older ones.

It is easy to say that is not a problem, but until you are faced with this and accept it there will be a problem, you will need to grieve to move forward and as with all losses the more prepared you are the least of a shock it will be to you. To prepare is to be ahead, to procrastinate is to be behind.

Call this a “Call to Action” to shore up your supplies or just a reminder to get ready. Either way, the time to prepare is now… while you still can.

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7 thoughts on “The Best Time to Start Prepping Is Right Now”

  1. Rourke, I am with you. I think the time is now. Things have gotten so out of hand in this world, and it has become so unstable that we all need to step up our preps. Your list is a very good one. I agree with all your points and if someone is just starting out they should follow your list. The time is defiantly now!!

  2. yeh, what Badvoodoodaddy said.

    flashlights are something they absolutely can’t skimp on. they should be high quality, with rubber/O-ring seals. gas leaks are common after a disaster. you don’t want anything that could make a spark.

  3. They say the best time to plant a tree is 10 years ago. The next best time is right now. The same goes for having preps in place. As events in the world continue to put strain on us all, perhaps more people will prepare for the possibility of crisis events. I hope so anyway. Your post outlines a great way to get started or evaluate where you are already with preps.

  4. I see comments addressing Rourke. I thought he sold the site to Dan Stevens. Am I missing something? It is late, and I am dozing off at the computer…….

    • He did, this is an older article that we’ve just updated, leaving some of the original content and the comments.

  5. Amen, I can’t believe it’s been 12 years since I first wandered in to MSO. I learned so much, it saved me anguish thru more than one hurricane over the years. It was trendy then I got really older, & then it waned. So for all the new or reluctant preppers that might see this post, it really is time to literally reboot. We are heading into an economic abyss. I for one spent the last 10 years learning to grow a garden, live more self sustainable sold my home & relocated to a place I open I could finish out my golden years. I had been very active on MSO written. articles, won contest & hoped the future was gliding with me. Edited my stores for the recent move to accommodate downsizing. But 10 years is a fortuitous thing. We lose a lot but maybe learn more. So with the Economic tsunami barreling our way it is time to drag out the stores lists seems like the same old methods are still the best create new safety plans for the new route life has taken me. Rourke was an incredible mentor, I owe a lot of salvation to his
    teachings so with a sigh at 76 I’m going to say what I said this past summer when I bought & moved into my 1980 Geodesic Dome, hey kids this is my last act let’s make it phenomenal. I’ll dust off those survival skills, no Societal or Economic Collapse is going to stop me or get in my way.


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