Top 10 things to get to start prepping…

Everyday more and more people are getting involved in preparedness. The reasons are many however these “newbies” often are confused and just don’t know where to start.

This post is to assist in pointing many of you new to preparedness in the right direction. The acquiring and completion of this list does not get you ready for the end of the world. That is not the goal. What these 10 items provide is a good base which to build your survival system from.

So – here is the list:

#1 – LED Flashlight with extra batteries

The flashlight is one of the most basic supplies in any preparedness system. Once the lights go out and the sun goes down the lowly flashlight will be very welcome and extremely important. When that “thing” goes bump in the night and the kids are scared a flashlight (or twelve) will provide comfort in addition to security.

There are a lot of great flashlights that do not have to cost and arm and a leg. The Nebo featured above is an excellent example.

Whatever is purchased make sure to get several sets of extra batteries as well.

#2 – Water / Food

Without food and water a survival situation can go from bad to very, very bad. A good start is putting back 72 hours worth of food for each member of your group or family. This does not have to be expensive or take up a lot of space. Purchasing extra food such as rice, beans, peanut butter, dehydrated potatoes, etc. at your local grocery store is certainly a good option. Ready made 72 hour kits of quality freeze dried food can be purchased and placed on a shelf just on case.

Water can be purchased by the gallon or in cases of small portable bottles. Look for ones on sale and stack them up next to your emergency food supply.

#3 –Fire

Fire can do a lot. Fire can heat, cook, signal, sterilize, purify, provide light, and protect. Grab a couple packs of matches and a few butane lighters. Save dryer lint in a Ziploc bag along with some petroleum jelly and fire you will have.

#4 -Guns & Ammo

It is unfortunate that low-life hoodlums will take advantage of disasters and emergency situations and rob, loot, steal, and murder. Being able to defend yourself, your family and your supplies is required. Whatever firearm is chosen be familiar with it, be able to shoot it accurately and have plenty of ammunition and extra magazines (if applicable).

A pile of money is not needed to get something decent. I recently picked up a brand new Springfield XD9 for $399. Not bad.

#5 -Blankets

Blankets can provide not only warmth but comfort as well should the need to sleep on a hard surface arise. Blankets can be folded to create a pillow. They also can be folded and tied to hold supplies. Blankets can also be used between two large poles to carry an injured person. Wool is highly recommended. A lot of uses and not easily replaces with an alternative.

#6 -First Aid Kit

Got a boo-boo? Not a big deal in most cases however in a disaster-event one of the last things anyone needs is an infection. Depending upon what happens tree’s could be down, power out – lots of opportunities for injury.

Having a good basic first aid kit just makes sense. They can be purchased at Wal-Mart for just under $10.00. I have one of the kits pictured above and am very happy with it.

#7 – Knife

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A good basic knife can do a lot of things and likely should probably be higher on the list. Depending on the specific knife, this tool can cut, chop, slice, carve, hammer, pry, stab, and hack. The KA-BAR is a good knife.

#8 – Radio

Communication is more than just valuable so you know what is happening r will be happening – it can be a morale booster. Bring stuck in a house with no power, no running water – with no connection to the outside world can wreak havoc on people especially kids. An inexpensive radio is a good start.

#9 – Fuel

Back when Hurricane Hugo plowed through the southeast power was lost for several days in many areas. Gas stations also lost power and many people had no fuel for their vehicles. Having a few 5 gallon gas containers full sitting in a shed or in the backyard is insurance. Make sure you don’t store them in your house or garage.

#10 – Trash Bags

Trash bags are extremely versatile and I recommend large heavy-duty lawn leaf bags. Plastic trash bags can provide shelter from the elements as well as hold waste. They can transport water as well as capture it from the sky.

Go to the store and get a box of large, heavy duty leaf bags.

Alright everyone’s opinions no doubt vary on what items should and shouldn’t be on this list.

What do you think?

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15 thoughts on “Top 10 things to get to start prepping…”

  1. Morning Rourke, one thing I would add for some people would be in the area of prescription meds that they or their children may be on, this is a very good beginner list.

  2. Good list. I would add 5 more.

    Most folks already have a wide assortment of clothing, but knowing what and where can be a life saver. Good sturdy (and most importantly broken in) boots, dry socks, and a mil spec poncho (not the $3.99 variety from Wally World) can make the difference from surviving and thriving.

    Duct tape can be used for all kinds of repair jobs.

    Cordage (from dental floss to 550 cord to 3/8″ rope) – traps, tent support (see blanket in Rourke’s post for the makings of your tent), primitive back packs, belts, rifle slings, shoe laces, and tourniquets.

    Pencil and notepad – who knows, when you’re bored out of your skull waiting on the power company to show up you may get a good start on the next great American novel (watch our Rawles, the competition is merely slumbering in the trenches). You could also spend the time making lists of all the stuff you should have included in your BOB, but that’s negative thinking in a stressful situation – a generic no-no.

    Toothbrush and toothpaste – doesn’t take up much room and makes you much more pleasant to be around.

    I also have a small waterproof (at least the Manufacturer claims it is) steel bos which contains an iPod, ear buds, small solar charger, deck of cards, and some spiritual guidance – not necessarily vital, but really welcome.

  3. I cut some downed trees this spring and the power company culled some trees near power lines on my nieghbors property. This week I took all that wood and split and stacked it. I estimate that I have four winters supply nicely stacked in my yard. We hate primarily/only with wood so this is like money in the bank. I know you covered fire but having multiple cords of split and neatly stacked wood is so much more then “fire”. It is comforting to know where my “energy” to heat and cook is coming from for the next four years. I also have about 100-120 trees on my property and this would be about 10 more years worth of heat and cooking if needed.

  4. this is a good list. i have only one negative comment. im retired and on a small income. $399 for a gun might sound like a bargain when most are 3 or 4 times higher but its still out of my reach at my income level. all i have with me is an old 38 special that was given to me by a young man i know. he wanted to be sure i had something to protect me. i am comfortable around guns and am okay with this gift. its nice to have good friends who think about others safety and can help. i went to a gun shop – be still my heart, i was in heaven haha – but the prices were way out of my league so all i did was drool alot. i am now tryingto save up to buy more ammo as i can.

    i am enjoying your posts and learning alot from you. thanks.

  5. I would add cash to the list. When the power is out and you need to buy something (gas, water, ice, food, batteries, tarps, propane, etc.) having $500 cash on hand will get you through a tough spot. Make sure the cash is in small bills – nothing larger than a $20!

  6. Rourke, you are a respected leader in the “Preparation” field. Consequently, your “Top Ten” are great ideas and I certainly won’t compare what little I know to your experience. I would just elaborate or suggest the following: #1- I am partial to Maglight, only because I have had several over the last 25 years and never had cause to try another brand. I assume that these newer types that are made of metal can also be used as a weapon. #2 – As you suggested, I would get some “ready made” 72 hour kit, dehydrated food & MRE’s first, then progress to regular canned and dried goods as my preparation efforts continued. #3 – We made “Fire Kits” (fits in a sandwich bag) that contained lighters, waterproof matches, lint soaked in Vasoline, small candles, magnesium bar and starter sticks. #4 – If I was starting from scratch, my first few weapons would be: shotgun with multiple rounds (slugs, #00, small shot), .22 LR (Ruger 10/22 or AR-7), then one of these pistols that shoot .45LC & .410GA (S&W Governor or Taurus Judge). I own a Savage over/under, but would not pick that first because it comes up short as a defense weapon. #5 – If affordable, I would substitute wool blanket for military poncho with liner. One could tie the poncho up as a shelter and wrap up in the liner. #6 – We got similar $10 1st Aid kits, then added common meds recommended by Prepper physicians. #7- I would advise a knife with a saw back, or small machete with saw teeth on the reverse side of the blade. #8 – We bought a radio online that has a solar charger for a cell phone and is battery or crank operated. #9 – One of two changes I would make from your items. I would recommend one of those survival kits with all the small, necessary components: multi-tool/Swiss Army Knife, sewing kit, wp matches, wire saw, space blanket, fishing hooks/line/sinkers, H2O purification tablets, stored in a water bottle or tin. #10 – I would sub garbage bags for a large ziplock bag containing personal hygiene stuff: baby wipes, toilet paper, small bar soap, mini-toothbrush & small tube of paste, maybe even a little deodorant stick. It could be viewed as a morale booster or prevention of disease. P.S. I assume your Top 10 were picked considering both Bug-In or portability for Bug Out. Before closing, I am compelled to thank you for establishing this site and keeping us informed. God Bless You!

  7. Nice article. Some thoughts:

    – The Nebo is a nice flashlight. Uses three AAA batteries. Works well on NIMH. Very bright at top setting. Has a strobe feature.

    – Freeze dried or dehydrated food is good as long as you have some way of heating water. A rocket stove for example. Having potable water is a lot more important, in the short term, than having food. I went with a Big Berkey from one of you sponsors. I use it to filter all of my drinking water. Tastes a lot better.

    – We all have blankets. Having a good sleep bag is probably better. I went with the Wiggys Ultima Thule. Not the lightest bag around. Shop around, I got mine for a third off from the manufacturer.

    – Most first aid kits won’t be sufficient should the SHTF. I added some battle dressings and burn packs.

    – I have a K-BAR. It is a good knife. I also have a Glock fighting knife. The Glock is also a good knife. Made in Austria. Costs half what the K-BAR does.

    – Radios. I have two receivers. A Grundig and a Sony. In Faraday cages. Plan to get a transceiver ‘real soon now’. You don’t need a license to transmit during an emergency per FCC part 97.

    – In my, oh so humble, opinion storing flammable liquids in plastic containers is foolish. A practice best employed by those who haven’t reproduced. Get metal safety cans. They do cost more but could save your life. I went with Justrite. While on the topic of fire. Having some way of putting one out is a good idea. I went with Amerex for fire extinguishers. They do cost more than normal home units. I was at the local Costco. They sell the Kidde brand. They use Amerex. Coincidence?

    – Trash bags are essential. Be sure to get bags that you will use. Also get the right size. Using a 55 gallon bag in a port-a-potting seems wasteful. Easy to find on sale.

    Be well.

  8. I just have a commet about the site. There are alot of diffrent topics for the new prepper maybe you should make a tab at the top of the page that you can store specific articles old and new that are focused on the new prepper. It might help make it easier for them to find the informetion that they need faster. just a thought
    stay frosty!

  9. Exc. Rourke
    As a long time prepping Grandma I will add the following items: (also good for bartering)
    Diapers (cloth ) and disposable,candles,vitamins and natural and homeopathic remedies.books for learning and pleasure-distraction-shoelaces- Arlene

  10. I think you hit the nail on the head with the basic Rourke. The only thing I would change, aside from list positions, would be the fire. I will not argue about keeping a small fire kit in a BOB or the like, but for basic supplies a camping stove with extra fuel may be a better alternative. They are a little safer and user friendly than trying to make a fire, especially in a urban establishment.


  11. While flashlights are nice, I think my first advice would be to stock up on a few lanterns since we’re far more accustomed to room lighting than direct (flashlight) lighting.


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