Prepping for SHTF 2024: Essential Skills

published on 14 January 2024

When facing uncertain times, we all hope to be prepared. Yet prepping responsibly requires forethought, not fear.

This article explores pragmatic preparedness - gathering skills and supplies to weather adversity while avoiding extremes.

We'll cover essentials like first aid, communication devices, basic food storage, and community building. The goal is building resilience through level-headed planning for disruptions, not doomsday.

The Imperative of Prepping for SHTF in 2024

Prepping in 2024 remains critically important as we face ongoing economic and political uncertainties. As recent events have shown, being prepared for disasters, shortages, and civil unrest continues to be vital.

Understanding SHTF: Prepping Beyond 2022

Acronyms like SHTF (stuff hits the fan) and TEOTWAWKI (the end of the world as we know it) refer to catastrophic events that disrupt normal life. While outright doomsday scenarios are unlikely in the near future, the potential for increased civil unrest, supply chain issues, natural disasters, and other crises means that prepping remains relevant. As we move beyond 2022, preppers must continue adapting their plans to account for an ever-changing landscape of risks.

Risk Assessment: Identifying Threats in a Post-2022 World

Some of the key threats facing preppers in 2024 include:

  • Economic instability or collapse
  • Pandemics
  • Natural disasters exacerbated by climate change
  • Cyberattacks crippling critical infrastructure
  • Civil unrest driven by political and social divides

While the probability of any single event occurring is hard to predict, taking a proactive approach to emergency preparedness is more important than ever. Threat assessment and risk management must be ongoing processes.

The Core Principles of Prepping for Long-Term Survival

Regardless of what the future holds, some core philosophies guide the prepping community:

  • Self-reliance: Not depending on others in an emergency
  • Adaptability: Flexibility in the face of changing conditions
  • Community: Mutual assistance and skill sharing with others
  • Scalability: Ability to ramp up or down prepping activities as needed

Following these principles with pragmatism and level-headedness is key to being prepared both for short-term crises and long-term, post-SHTF scenarios.

What is the first thing a prepper should buy?

When getting started on your prepping journey, it's important to have the essentials covered first before moving on to more advanced gear and skills. As the article mentions, evergreen products like water, food, first aid, hygiene items, and sanitation supplies make up the prepper-checklist-essentials-your-guide-to-survival-basics/">core basics every prepper should have on hand.

Here are some of the most vital items to start with as a beginning prepper:

  • Water - Having an emergency supply of water is critical. Aim for at least a 3-day supply of water per person. Store-bought bottled water or filled containers work well. Rotate and replace over time.

  • Food - Non-perishable food like canned goods, MREs, freeze-dried meals, and long-shelf-life items are convenient options. Prioritize calorie-and nutrient-dense foods.

  • First aid kit - A basic first aid kit can treat cuts, burns, sprains and other minor injuries. Stock medical essentials like bandages, gauze, ointments, medications, etc. Know how to use the contents properly.

  • Sanitation and hygiene - Toilet paper, paper towels, soap, toothpaste, feminine products, and other daily essentials are often overlooked. Maintain health and prevent illness with proper sanitation.

  • Prepper gear - Flashlights, batteries, multi-tools, tarps, duct tape, and fire-starting items are versatile items useful for various emergency situations. Invest in quality gear that will hold up over time.

Starting with the fundamentals helps prepper novices get their footing. As your knowledge and skills progress, you can level up with more specialized equipment and training. But having the basics handled first establishes a solid foundation to build upon.

What percent of Americans are preppers?

According to John Ramey in November 2022, about 15 million Americans are actively prepping, representing around 10% of all households. Just a few years ago, only 2-3% of households were engaged in prepping activities.

This notable increase highlights a growing interest in emergency preparedness and self-reliance. As global uncertainties rise, more people recognize the value of stockpiling supplies, learning survival skills, and creating contingency plans.

The prepper community encompasses a diverse range of individuals with varying motivations. Some focus on natural disasters, while others prioritize civil unrest or economic collapse. Despite their differences, preppers share key traits like resourcefulness, critical thinking, and self-sufficiency.

As the prepper population expands, the market for related products and services grows in tandem. From long-term food storage to bug-out bags and homesteading guides, the industry answers the demand for specialized disaster readiness gear. Online communities also proliferate, allowing preppers to exchange intel and advice.

The above statistics confirm that prepping has hit the mainstream. While stereotypes of "doomsday preppers" persist in pop culture, the truth reflects everyday Americans aware of global uncertainties. And their ranks will likely continue rising in the years ahead.

How much does the average prepper spend?

The average prepper spends a significant amount of money on supplies and preparations. Here is a breakdown of some common prepper expenses:

  • 12% of preppers spend an average of $65 on survival kits. These kits contain basic necessities like food, water, first aid, tools, and shelter.

  • 9% of preppers set aside an average emergency stash of $468 in cash. Having spare cash on hand provides flexibility in an emergency when banks or ATMs may not be available.

  • 8% of preppers spend an average of $580 on home renovations and improvements focused on emergency preparedness. This includes things like stocking a basement shelter, installing backup power sources, or hardening the home against natural disasters.

  • 6% of preppers budget an average of $150 for self-defense preparations such as taking tactical defense classes or purchasing weapons. Self-defense skills and equipment provide protection for yourself and your family.

As you can see, there is significant variation in how much preppers allocate towards preparations, depending on their personal risk assessments and areas of focus. With mindful planning, prepping can be achieved even on a limited budget by prioritizing the most vital supplies and training.

What food do preppers keep?

Preppers focus on stockpiling non-perishable foods with a long shelf life that will sustain them in an emergency. Here are some of the most essential foods for every prepper's pantry:

Canned and Jarred Goods

  • Canned vegetables like green beans, carrots, and peas are nutritious and last 2-5 years. Prioritize vegetables high in vitamins and minerals.
  • Canned tuna, salmon, chicken, and turkey are excellent sources of protein and fat. Aim for cans packed in water rather than oil.
  • Nut butters like peanut butter are calorically dense, providing protein and healthy fats. Consider powdered peanut butter as well.
  • Canned soups and stews provide calories, protein, veggies, and flavor. Go for low-sodium options when possible.

Grains, Legumes and Pasta

  • Dried pasta, rice, beans, and lentils are inexpensive but provide calories, fiber, protein and nutrients. They store for up to 30 years!
  • Whole grain crackers, cereal and granola bars offer carbs, fiber and vitamins. Prioritize options without hydrogenated oils.

Snacks and Comfort Foods

  • Trail mixes with nuts, seeds, and dried fruit satisfy snack cravings.
  • Chocolate, honey, salt, spices, coffee, and tea comfort us emotionally.

When building your food stockpile, focus on nutrient density, caloric value, shelf life, and personal preferences. Store foods properly and cycle through items, using and replenishing before expiration dates.


Crafting a Scalable Prepping Game Plan for 2024

As we enter 2024, it's wise to craft a flexible prepping strategy that can scale to meet potential threats. By conducting methodical risk assessments, setting incremental goals, and strategically stockpiling critical supplies, we can build resilience against disruptions.

Conducting a Comprehensive Risk Assessment

The first step is assessing potential risks that may impact your region, household and lifestyle. Consider natural disasters, economic factors, infrastructure vulnerabilities, and global events. Analyze the likelihood and potential impact levels of each scenario to guide your prepping priorities. Resources like FEMA's THIRA process can assist with standardized regional and community-level risk analysis.

Setting Priorities and Goals for Prepping

With risks assessed, set reasonable, achievable targets for building resilience. Aim for 2 weeks of supplies initially, then expand from there. Prioritize water, food, first aid, hygiene items, tools, and skills training. Consider daily essentials plus barter goods. Define metrics like gallons of water, calories of food, or months of medications as measurable goals.

Strategic Stockpiling: Building a Resilient Supply Cache

Stockpiling is most effective when done strategically over time. Build a deep pantry with shelf-stable basics like rice, beans, canned meat and veggies. Augment with water filtration, alternative cooking devices, fuel and energy options. Organize by expiration date and rotate supplies. Allow for scalability by identifying resupply sources and additional storage capacity.

Mastering Essential Prepper Skills for Self-Reliance

Supplies alone aren't enough - knowledge and skills are critical. Take first aid classes, practice alternative cooking methods, learn foraging fundamentals. Develop self-defense capabilities including physical fitness, weapons handling, and security protocols. Hone navigation abilities, communication systems knowledge, and emergency response techniques. Identify skill gaps and invest time regularly in expanding your capabilities.

Logistics and Bugout Strategies for the Prepper

Being prepared for an emergency situation requires having robust logistics and bugout strategies in place. This involves assembling critical gear and equipment that allows one to effectively transport necessities, purify water, harness power, cook food, and meet other basic needs when off-the-grid.

Assembling Bug Out Bags and Mobile Survival Kits

Bug out bags, also known as GO bags or 72-hour kits, contain supplies for short-term evacuation and survival. Recommended items include:

  • Water (1 gallon per person per day)
  • Non-perishable food
  • First aid kit
  • Flashlights and batteries
  • Multi-tool
  • Emergency blankets
  • Weather-appropriate clothing
  • Hygiene products
  • Cash
  • Important documents

INCH bags (I'm Never Coming Home) prepare for indefinite displacement with tools for self-reliance. Include fishing line and hooks, snare wire, firearms, water filters, seeds, and reference guides like survival manuals in addition to standard bug out bag gear.

Assembling bug out vehicles with fuel stores, shelter, comms gear, and provisions enables rapid relocation when required.

Water Filtration and Storage: Prepping for Hydration

Stockpiling water ensures supply when utilities fail. Rotate containers every 6 months. Recommended options:

  • 7-14 gallon Reliance Aqua-Tainer
  • 55 gallon water drums
  • 275 gallon IBC totes

Water filters remove bacteria and contaminants. The Sawyer Squeeze, Lifestraw, and Berkey systems balance portability with high flow rates.

Rain catchment methods like 55 gallon barrels under drain spouts harvest water. Add screens to keep out debris and disinfect before drinking.

Off-Grid Power and Lighting: Prepping for Outages

Solar generators like Goal Zero Yeti power essentials when the grid goes down. Pair with 100w solar panels for indefinite off-grid use.

Deep cycle AGM batteries store abundant reserve capacity. Maintain battery banks to prolong lifespan.

Hand crank and shake flashlights, lanterns, and radios generate power without batteries. Stockpile fuel sources like propane and kerosene.

Prep olive oil candles in sturdy containers, ensuring ample lighting when dark.

Equipping for Sustenance: Tools for Hunting, Trapping, and Foraging

In a long-term crisis, replenishing food stocks becomes critical. Consider:

  • Hunting rifles in common calibers
  • Fishing rods, tackle boxes and nets
  • Snares, traps, bows
  • Field guides for wild edibles native to your region

Take hunting safety courses and gain experience dressing game. Stockpile ammo. Store seeds to start gardens when resettling.

Honing skills like trapping, fishing, and identifying wild edibles takes practice but bolsters resilience long-term.

Sustaining Life: Prepping Food and Medical Supplies

Stockpiling Essentials: Food, MREs and Nutritional Preps

When building your food stockpile, focus on nutritious, non-perishable items with a long shelf life. Some good options include:

  • Canned goods like beans, vegetables, fruits, meats, and fish
  • Whole grains like rice, quinoa, oats, and pasta
  • Dried fruits and vegetables
  • Nuts and trail mixes
  • Powdered milk, eggs, and butter
  • Meal replacement shakes and protein bars

MREs (Meals Ready to Eat) are convenient for bug-out bags but quite expensive for stockpiling. Consider them a supplement rather than your main food prep.

Make sure to store foods properly and rotate your stock regularly to maximize freshness and shelf life. Track expiration dates and plan meals around what needs to be used.

Medical Prepping: First Aid and Beyond

A comprehensive medical prep should include:

  • A well-stocked first aid kit with bandages, gauze, medicines, instruments, etc.
  • Extra OTC medications and antibiotics to treat common injuries and illnesses
  • Training and reference guides for emergency medical procedures
  • Botanical treatments like essential oils and herbs
  • Tools for field surgery, dentistry, optometry if SHTF is long-term

Without access to doctors, even minor issues can become life-threatening. Focus efforts on prevention, sanitation, nutrition, fitness, and self-care.

Water Purification Techniques for Preppers

Store at least 1 gallon of water per person per day. Rotate supplies every 6 months. Methods to purify found water:

  • Boiling for 1+ minute
  • Using water purification tablets
  • Filtering through a high-quality portable filter
  • DIY filters like sand, charcoal, ceramic

Store water properly in opaque, air-tight containers indoors or underground to prevent algae and bacteria.

Caring for Vulnerable Populations: Prepping for Children & Elderly

Children and elderly have special needs for nutrition, medicine, mobility, and care. Prep specifically for them:

  • Stock extra baby food, formula, diapers
  • Have larger supplies of maintenance medications
  • Store mobility aids like walkers, canes
  • Set up safe spaces, proper bedding
  • Train caretakers on special care, transfers

Focus additional efforts on security, sanitation, and contingency planning to keep them safe.

Prepping for Security: Defense Measures for TEOTWAWKI Scenarios

As preppers, we aim to be self-reliant and prepared for any emergency scenario. However, extreme situations like TEOTWAWKI (the end of the world as we know it) call for extra defense measures to ensure our safety and security. This section offers strategies and gear recommendations for fortifying your homestead, arming yourself for self-defense, establishing emergency communication networks, and connecting with like-minded community members.

Self-Defense Prepping: Weapons and Tactics for Personal Security

When law enforcement resources are overwhelmed or unavailable, personal security will rely on our own preparedness. Legally owned firearms that are easy to operate, like shotguns, handguns and semi-automatic rifles provide versatile self-defense options. Regular practice and tactical training will give you muscle memory and confidence. Consider night vision, incendiary rounds, silencers, body armor, and other gear to address likely post-SHTF threats like looters. Prep smart by understanding and following gun laws in your state.

Fortifying the Homestead: Prepper Strategies Against Intruders

Start home fortification planning by conducting a risk assessment of likely intruder entry points. Reinforce those weak spots with security doors, window bars, alarms and motion-activated lights. Establish a secure safe room or bunker with protected ventilation, communications, water, food, weapons and medical supplies to shelter during home invasions. Set up decoy retreats with some supplies to distract and delay looters. Prep smart by understanding and following fortification regulations in your area.

Emergency Communications: Prepping Two-Way Radios and Signals

When the internet, phones and electricity fail, two-way radios are essential for coordinating community security and mutual aid. Beginner HAM radio preppers should get technician licenses for basic UHF/VHF communications. More advanced users can pursue general licenses to unlock HF bands for long-distance communications. Encrypted digital radios are harder to monitor. Also consider old-school signals like fires, flags and runners.

Building a Prepper Community for Mutual Aid and Defense

A resilient community of like-minded folks is critical when SHTF. Get to know nearby preppers through online forums, prepper meetups and HAM radio networks. Plan mutual aid agreements for security patrols, alert systems, skill and supply bartering. A unified community with strong bonds, clear communications and combined manpower will be far more secure when defending against threats after TEOTWAWKI.

Conclusion: Prepping for the Long Haul

As we have seen, developing essential skills for emergency preparedness is vital in the current climate. Events in 2022 underscore the relevance of "prepping" to secure basics like food, water, medical supplies.

Here are key takeaways:

  • Start small, focus on fundamentals. Stock 2 weeks of shelf-stable food/water, create 72-hour "go bags", organize key documents.

  • Learn versatile skills applicable to various situations - first aid, navigation, foraging edibles, self-defense tactics. Local community classes can help.

  • Run practice drills on handling different scenarios, refine your prepping plans. Revisit your risk assessment periodically.

  • Cultivate a community and talk to like-minded folks about creative ideas for scalability in prepping. But keep your plans fluid, avoiding fixed assumptions.

  • Review your prepping game plan yearly and update as needed. The future is uncertain but preparation can give peace of mind.

The core principles of preparedness hold true regardless of events. Make steady progress in securing essentials and skills for you and your loved ones. The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

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