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How Far Do You Take Your Survival Prep?

Common survival gear

In today's unpredictable world, it's not uncommon to hear people discussing their survival preparations. From stockpiling food and water to learning self-defense techniques, there are a variety of measures people take to ensure their safety in the face of potential disasters. But how far is too far? Is it necessary to invest in expensive survival gear and build a bunker, or is it enough to simply have a few emergency supplies on hand? In this article, we'll explore the different approaches people take to survival prep and consider the pros and cons of each. Whether you're a seasoned prepper or just starting to think about your emergency preparedness, this article will provide valuable insights into how to best protect yourself and your loved ones in times of crisis.

The Importance of Survival Prep

The importance of survival prep cannot be overstated. In the face of natural disasters, such as hurricanes and earthquakes, or man-made disasters, such as terrorist attacks and civil unrest, being prepared can mean the difference between life and death. Having a plan in place can ensure that you and your loved ones have what you need to survive until help arrives.

But survival prep isn't just about having enough food and water. It's also about having the skills and knowledge to handle a crisis or to simply be self-sufficient. This includes knowing how to start a fire, being able to collect and purify water, and how to administer first aid. It's also about having a plan for communication, transportation, and shelter. Don’t forget about your neighbors. There are good reasons why people banded together to form societies. Some of the smallest units of society include the family and community. And there can be a lot of strength in a tight nit family and community, so don’t sleep on this.

Ultimately, the goal of survival prep is to be able to sustain yourself and your family for as long as possible. This means having the resources and skills to survive without outside assistance or perhaps minimal outside assistance. While this may seem extreme to some, it's important to remember that disasters can strike at any time, and being prepared can make all the difference. With that said, being self-sufficient can also improve the quality of your life through potentially healthier foods, more exercise, and becoming better at realistic, innovative thinking to achieve your needs and goals.

Factors to Consider in Determining How Far to Take Your Survival Prep

Notebook with text saying "Things to Consider"

While survival prep is important, it's also important to consider how far you want to take it. For starters, you need to recognize that to make it completely on your own may require skills, tools, and resources that are hard to come by. Do you know how to make hammer and nails, for instance? Do you know how to locate and get usable salt? How about making soap? These are all staples in most people’s daily lives.

Now, there are several factors to consider when determining how much time, effort, and resources you want to invest in survival prep.

One factor to consider is your location. Are you in an area that is prone to natural disasters, such as hurricanes or earthquakes? Are you in an area that is at risk for civil unrest or terrorist attacks? Knowing the risks in your area can help you determine how much preparation you need to do.

Another factor to consider is your budget. Survival gear can be expensive, and building a bunker can cost tens of thousands of dollars. While it's important to be prepared, it's also important to be realistic about what you can afford. As is the case with sustainability, it needs to be sustainable. Don’t put so much into your future survival that you endanger today’s survival.

Finally, it's important to consider your personal beliefs and values. Some people believe that it's important to be completely self-sufficient and prepare for the worst-case scenario. Others believe that it's enough to have a few emergency supplies on hand. There is no right or wrong answer, and it's up to each individual to determine their own level of preparedness.

Basic Survival Prep Necessities

Survival gear

At a minimum, everyone should have some basic survival prep necessities on hand. These include:

  • Water: At least one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days.

    • An interesting hack can be to collect rainwater and filter it using a camping water filter. This can greatly increase your capacity for water storage.

    • You can get 5 gallon water totes and water preservative to keep your water for years.

  • Food: Non-perishable food that is easy to prepare, such as canned goods, energy bars, and dried fruit. Make sure to have enough food for at least three days.

    • You can also get long-lasting food in purchasable kits.

    • It’s useful to learn how to grow your own food via gardening. There are actually survival gardening seeds for making a garden.

  • First aid kit: A well-stocked first aid kit that includes bandages, gauze, antiseptic, and medical gloves.

    • It’s helpful to take a class on this and CPR to ensure you are effective at administering both.

  • Flashlight: A battery-powered or crank flashlight, as well as extra batteries.

    • You can also get lanterns and similar items to help with emergency lighting needs.

  • Radio: A battery-powered or crank radio to stay informed of news and weather updates.

  • Whistle: A whistle to signal for help.

  • Dust mask: A dust mask to filter contaminated air.

    • Be aware that this will only help with particulates, not gases and vapors.

  • Moist towelettes: Moist towelettes, garbage bags, and plastic ties for personal sanitation.

  • A kit of basic tools such as wrenches and pliers. You may need to turn off utilities like water.

  • A heat retaining blanket or sleeping bag in case it’s cold and you don’t have power.

Having these basic supplies on hand can help you survive for a few days in the event of a disaster. You can go further the more of them you have or the more of them you are able to collect and/or produce.

Intermediate Survival Prep Measures

For those who are willing to invest more time and resources into survival prep, there are several intermediate measures to consider. You might be surprised at how closely related some of these measures are to what one might use in camping. They include:

  • Emergency shelter: A sturdy tent or tarp to provide shelter in case you need to evacuate your home.

  • Water filtration: A portable water filtration system to purify water from natural sources.

    • A camping water filter can help with this. You can also make or purchase water distillation units.

  • Cooking equipment: A portable stove or grill to cook food and boil water. It can also be a source of warmth in a pinch.

  • Hygiene supplies: Soap, toothbrushes, and other hygiene supplies to maintain cleanliness.

  • Cash: Cash in small denominations in case ATMs and credit card machines are not working.

    • Depending on how bad things get, you may want to have gold or silver available.

  • A fuel based heater, such as a kerosene heater, with plenty of fuel can get you through some very cold days.

These intermediate measures can help you survive for longer periods of time and provide a greater level of comfort and security.

Advanced Survival Prep Measures

For those who are willing to invest significant time and resources into survival prep, there are advanced measures to consider. These include:

  • Bunkers: Underground bunkers to provide shelter in the event of a nuclear or chemical attack.

    • You tend to want these away from major population centers. The further away you are from the disaster, the better off you tend to be.

  • Off-grid power: Solar or wind power systems to provide off-grid electricity.

    • If you’re fancy, you can utilize wood to power a small boiler to generate electricity.

    • If you evaluate the types of energy you need, you will probably find that electricity is low on the list when compared to heat and mechanical energy needs.

  • Self-defense training: Training in self-defense techniques to protect yourself and your family.

    • This will include weapons training using firearms as well as melee weapons.

    • In survival prep type situations, archery may be your friend.

  • Advanced medical training: Training in advanced medical techniques to handle serious injuries.

    • This is very useful. However, this is likely to fall to those already in medical type fields, such as doctors, nurses, and paramedics.

  • Food and water storage: Long-term food and water storage to survive for extended periods of time.

These advanced measures require significant time, effort, and resources, but can provide a higher level of security and self-sufficiency.

Balancing Survival Prep with Daily Life

Weight balance

While survival prep is important, it's also important to balance it with daily life. It's easy to become obsessed with survival prep and spend all your time and money on it, but this can lead to neglecting other important areas of your life.

One way to balance survival prep with daily life is to make it a family activity. Involve your spouse and children in the process, and use it as an opportunity to teach them valuable skills. This can help make survival prep a fun and rewarding activity, rather than a burden.

Another way to balance survival prep with daily life is to prioritize. Determine which areas of survival prep are most important to you, and focus on those first. Don't feel like you have to do everything at once.

Common Mistakes in Survival Prep and How to Avoid Them

Math mistake

There are several common mistakes people make when it comes to survival prep. These include:

  • Focusing too much on gear: While having the right gear is important, it's not the only thing that matters. Don't neglect the importance of skills and knowledge.

  • Broadcasting your personal plans and capabilities too much.

    • If you work with others to improve group survival, you will need to share some details.

    • If you are planning more of a go it alone approach, if you advertise what you have, people will know where to go in a panic… And that may not be the best thing for your survival prep efforts.

  • Not practicing: It's not enough to simply have supplies on hand. You also need to practice using them and implementing your plan.

    • Have you heard of the saying “use it or lose it”? That absolutely applies here. You have a tendency to lose ability in anything you don’t use enough.

    • As was the case with school fire drills, you need to have your own drills to ensure you stay sharp and ready if a disaster strikes.

    • Conversely, you could practice being self sufficient by gradually minimizing your reliance on store bought foods, utility provided water, and the like. You will be living in a more prepared state.

  • Not considering the needs of others: If you have children or elderly family members, make sure to take their needs into consideration when planning for a disaster.

    • Medicine and medical equipment requirements for such family members come to mind.

  • Not having an evacuation plan: In some cases, it may be necessary to get the heck out of dodge, otherwise known as evacuating your home. Make sure you have a plan in place for where you will go and how you will get there.

To avoid these common mistakes, make sure to do your research and be thorough in your preparation. Think about survival prep like an investment and investigate what’s needed to get a significant return on your investment. Living a more self-self-sufficient lifestyle can have significant savings in the long-term, which can contribute to getting that return on your investment.

Community and Group Survival Prep

Group eating together in woods

Finally, it's important to consider community and group survival prep. In some cases, it may be beneficial to work with others in your community to prepare for a disaster. This can include sharing resources, skills, and knowledge.

Remember when I said that people came together to form communities and societies for a reason? Well, it’s just not possible for you or your family to fulfill every potentially needed or useful role to the extent that may be needed. Being a jack of all trades usually means you’re a master of none. So having diverse skill sets in a community can improve the group survival ability of a community.

Organized groups exist, such as the Red Cross and CERT (Community Emergency Response Team), and they can provide training and resources for disaster preparedness.

Working together with others can provide a greater level of security and support in the event of a disaster.


In conclusion, survival prep is an important aspect of modern life. While the level of preparation needed will vary depending on individual circumstances, everyone should have at least a basic level of preparedness. This includes having supplies on hand, as well as the skills and knowledge to handle a crisis.

For those who are willing to invest more time and resources, there are intermediate and advanced measures to consider. However, it's important to balance survival prep with daily life and avoid common mistakes.

Finally, community and group survival prep can provide a greater level of security and support in the event of a disaster.

By taking the time to prepare for the worst, you can ensure the safety and security of yourself and your loved ones. Remember to think about survival prep as an investment. It is an investment in the protection of you and your loved ones’ ability to survive and thrive amidst adverse conditions. It also is a hedge of protection allowing you to provide for your own needs on your own terms.

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