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If you have checklists, do you have triggers for using them?

I’m a huge proponent of checklists.  As the Texas coast may experience some tropical weather later this week, I pulled out mine and made sure I was comfortable with my pre-set trigger for the Level A checks in the list.

Do you use pre-determined triggers for your checklists?

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Skills >> Gucci Gear

Wanted to make this post mostly pertaining to firearms as I’ve seen a lot of people on here asking questions about purchasing their first gun, but this advice can also be applied to just about anything prepping related. Keep in mind when going to purchase a firearm, or any piece of gear for that matter, that no matter how nice the gear may be, no matter how many cool features it may have, it is nearly useless in the hands of an unskilled operator. This mainly relates to firearms in the fact that far too many people get swept up in the game of trying to find “the best” weapon or optic or accessory out there and lose sight of what actually matters; Shooting the weapon. Sure that $2,000 LMT rifle looks super cool, runs like a racehorse, and has a ton of features, but if you can’t hit a 12″ silhouette at 50yds then it may as well be a pawn shop trade in special. What I’m saying is don’t assume that you can just buy skill with a weapon. Yes I love my Gucci ARs as much as the next gun nut, but if I blow my entire budget on a super expensive rifle setup and have no money for ammo to train with then it means nothing. Now I know right now circumstances are a little rough if you didn’t stockpile ammo before all this began, but the good news is there is still a way to hone your skills without ever firing a round. It’s called dry fire. Thomas and I touched on this in a previous thread, but dry fire is a wonderful way to build skills and muscle memory that are critical to fluid gun handling, particularly for handguns. The internet is full of videos of dry fire drills you can run at home without a single bullet fired that will greatly improve your speed, skill, and overall familiarity with the weapon. I’d be glad to post some of my personal routines if anyone is interested as well. Just running simple dry fire drills will help you begin to master the basics of sight acquisition, trigger press, grip/shouldering techniques, and weapon manipulation. It may feel silly at first, pretending to fire and reload your weapon with no ammo, but I can promise you the more dry fire reps you do the work for, the more it will pay off on the range and in real situations. Dry fire is no substitute for live ammo practice, as there are still fundamentals that can only be learned with live rounds, but it is a fantastic skill building supplement, especially for new shooters. No matter what caliber of shooter you are though, dry fire drills can and will help keep you at your top proficiency levels.

So let’s wrap things up:

1. Don’t buy a weapon so expensive you can’t afford ammo to train with it. I’m not saying don’t buy gucci guns if you have the disposable income, just don’t put yourself in a position where you have a high class weapon but you’re a low class shooter because you couldn’t afford to train with it.

2. Dry fire. A lot. Especially in times like these where ammo is scarce and priced like precious metal

3. Don’t get caught up in the hype about a certain weapon or optic or upgrade etc thinking that it will magically make you a better shooter. Higher quality gear allows good shooters to push their performance, but the increase is skill-driven, not gear-driven. Save up, buy ammo, train, and then once you have acquired a level of skill and confidence in your shooting begin looking for ways to enhance your performance.

I hope this was helpful to a lot of you good folk just getting in to the world of firearms, don’t be afraid to ask if you have any questions or would like any advice. I’m no master marksman but there are a lot of people on here with a lot of great knowledge who are glad to share it. The US has had a massive amount of new gun owners arise here in the past few months and it’s our job as experienced shooters to help educate and inspire them the best we can. If anyone would like links to videos of how to get started training or good dry fire drills to run just let me know, I would be happy to post them in the comments section.

And as always,

This is the way

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Thinking ahead: second order impacts?

With the realization that there is still a lot of uncertainty (both with the trajectory of the virus and people’s behaviors towards it) I’m curious what types of second order impacts (or third/fourth order impacts, at this point) might be in store for us.

For example: if stay at home orders persist, or people’s choices leave them at home (voluntary telework, etc.) more this summer – presumably everyone will be running their A/C on hot days, rather than leaving it off while at work.  Would that increase the strain on the electrical grid as compared to “normal” conditions and thereby increase the odds of rolling brownouts, etc?

At this point its all speculative (maybe people will spend more time outside instead?) just thinking out loud.  Any other medium-term impacts on the horizon?  Doesn’t have to be doom and gloom (I’m eating better/healthier, saving money, and fairly happy with my at-home haircuts, would be glad to maintain some of these new habits!).

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About that IFAK tourniquet

Does your kit have one? I’m a bit mystified by the emphasis on this piece of equipment, perhaps because neither firearms nor big hikes are part of my life. My Red Cross and NOLS courses haven’t emphasized a tourniquet — even kind of discouraged it. But the perfectionist in me is conflicted. Why should a suburbanite like me consider investing in a tourniquet?

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Family planning or avoiding pregnancy in a pandemic

Howdy, I’m Catnip and I teach couples how to chart their fertility naturally to avoid or assist in achieve in getting pregnant. As pretty much all of us know if the power goes out or the stores are empty getting to an app or a pharmacy becomes an issue very fast. Even getting into the doctor’s office as we have seen the last 5 months can be an issue.

So what do you do when you can’t access condoms, hormonal birth control or you want to get an IUD or copper coil? You learn to chart. Some folks use an app, but that’s not reliable for reasons including the above power issue, but more importantly 90% of apps are calender based methods – counting or rhythm method.

What I teach is called the Creighton FertilityCare Model and it is done with making observations of natural biological signs and interpreting those signs to understand if a woman (or a couple) is fertile or infertile on that day.

I’d love to answer questions you have and am happy to direct you to resources for different methods.

The big ones are Cervical Mucus charting, Temperature Charting and Hormone Charting.

I love discussing fertility, woman’s gynecologic health, and all around topics of intimacy. No question is too gross, too weird, or too complicated. If I don’t have an answer, I’ll find out or I’ll direct you to someone who has an answer.


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What do you think about “news” roundups on the TP blog?

I’m Jon, editor of the TP blog. We try to keep general news off of The Prepared. But there were times, like with COVID (where we were one of the first in the West to ring the alarm bells about it), where it seems worthy to talk about news in a prepping context.

We’re trying to figure out where the balance is. How much “news” do you want?

We’re planning to reduce the COVID “Key Developments” posts to about twice a week, but I wanted to take the forum’s temperature on this. We don’t (yet) have polling support in here, but if we did I’d post a poll with the following options:

Reduce COVID key developments posts to twice a week Eliminate these link-dump posts altogether Turn Key Developments into a generic prepping link-dump post that includes non-COVID news, interesting gear finds, etc.

Thoughts or feedback? Other alternatives?

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Do you think the media should be showing more visual imagery of the medical consequences of COVID?

I’d love to hear if you disagree, but it seems like the mainstream media has been holding back on showing sensitive medical images/videos of what it’s like with COVID and how nuts things are in certain hospitals.

(This is not a political/tribal discussion, eg. Fox News vs. Mother Jones.)

It’s understandable in normal times that this would be distasteful, but these aint normal times and a major problem in society is a culture of people who seem to not comprehend all of the facets.

Sometimes those visuals and sounds are the best way to make things click for a person. It’s similar to how the public campaigns against underage smoking stopped focusing on pitches like “if you smoke, you’re going to die!”or “these yummy-looking scrambled eggs are your brain on drugs!”, and instead started saying narratives like “if you smoke, you’re going to smell bad and get ugly!” and “your sperm die and your friends dump you!”

… the latter being far more effective at ‘moving the needle’ in the real world.

I have no way of editorially-vouching for this image, but I saw it in a Facebook group and it struck me that it was effective imagery. What do you think? Should this happen more?

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Air Purifier for Small Office/Home

Any recommendations for air purifiers/filters that are effective in ‘vacuuming’ the coronavirus? Aware that it may only be a small percent if any at all in filtering out a room. But friends and family are returning to work, and anything would be considered if it helps. Any experience with these?

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What the media didn’t understand about toilet paper hoarding

Not only was it aggravating that some media referred to the people panic buying as “preppers”… but they all seem baffled by why people were stocking up on toilet paper.

Here’s my theory. I poop in my home less often than I poop at my work or other places. So does my wife and our kids mostly do their business at school. I did not yet have a stock of toilet paper in my preps. So when this all started going down, I knew I wanted to go stock up… but I honestly had no idea just how much my family would use when we are all at home 24/7 for weeks.

Are there any good rules of thumb in prepping about how much TP a person uses? Or some other formula to use?

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Contact-free grocery shopping and prepping

I know that many items have limits, say 2 of this, or one of that. I was going to the store physically less than once a month and getting as much of any item that I could get or needed, except toilet paper, which I have alternatives for, mostly. I try to not take things that other people might need more. That being said, for anyone who does InstaCart, do you notice differences in limits on how much you can purchase at once, or are your purchases being tracked so that if you do it once a week, it becomes obvious that you are trying to stockpile for shtf? Does it even matter? New-to-Instacart question. My question is not “how to do InstaCart” but “how to do InstaCart when one is prepping for more than a week’s worth of stuff”?

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Masking little kids

Will your smallest children wear masks? Have you found particular products (either masks or faceshields) that work best for little kids? How about motivational techniques to help kids want to wear masks?

In many places, mask mandates apply to kids over age 2. When schools try to reopen in the fall, they are also likely to require masks, but it’s unclear which products are best for kids or how to get them to comply.


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Preps of shame?

So, I was loading three empty 5 gallon gasoline jerry cans into the back of my Toyo last night, strategically pre-placed so that, should I need to GTFOH, I can quickly double my range with 15 gallons of extra fuel from the corner station before we slip away towards the horizon as NYC goes all Snake Plissken in my rearview. Amaze-balls, right?

But then I had this thought, “Um, maybe this is overkill? Or even misguided? Am I killing too much gear space for potentially unneeded fuel? Am I just dumb?”

And then I had this idea for some chuckles in the middle of all this insanity. Hence, this thread.

So, what has been a prep of shame for you? Something you thought was initially unbelievably amazing but, upon reflection, feels, um, not so great. Let’s keep it light, funny and sharing some good-natured fun at our own expense, despite all our best, logistical intentions. 

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Recommendations for Worksheets or Planning Sheets?

I admit it, I’m a list person. I like writing everything down and having it neatly organized in a binder. Logically, I know that apps and spreadsheets (which are totally my work life) are more efficient and more easily updated, but still, I get a thrill from actually checking a box or writing out a plan. Before I go all Type A and recreate the wheel – does anybody have recommendations for good preppier printables? Checklists are easy to find, but also looking for scenario evaluation and threat assessment. Something along the lines of “I live in this area, my threats are xyz, threat y has the highest probability, threat x is less probable, but also requires less prep, threat z has low probability, but requires high prep effort.”

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How to help normalize general preparedness?

I find myself circling around the topic of “what can I do” to help educate and/or convert others as this global pandemic is a sort of a near perfect case study in why it’s not “crazy” to prepare at least a little.

To share my personal time-line:

I started paying attention to the “new virus” around January 17 when it showed up on The Prepared on a couple of blog entries.

On January 27 I started modestly stocking up on some supplies like hand sanitizer, wipes, etc.

As February unfolded I started shoring up non-perishable foods and other shelf-stable consumables.

But, and I’m not proud of this, I didn’t start prodding my nearby family with “do you have everything you need” hints and “hey, I noticed all the lysol wipes were gone at the grocery store” hints until March 3.  I didn’t suggest to a subset of my facebook friends they might want to start paying attention until March 5.  March 12 was when my employer granted more liberal telework, and then people started swarming the grocery stores near here on March 13 (that was a weird weekend…).

By then I was plenty prepared… but i was also wishing I had “warned” more people a little louder and a little sooner.  I didn’t do more because I didn’t want to come off as an alarmist, I was unsure of the urgency/impact, and I was perhaps slightly worried about being judged harshly by some peers (I shouldn’t care but I’m human).  As luck would have it most in my circles are largely fine but if things had turned out worse i’d be kicking myself that “I didn’t do more.”

So, along the lines of the blog post here ( ) about welcoming newcomers, any thoughts on how best to spread the word without being too heavy handed? Even silly stuff like the 2-weeks of food and water [FEMA guidelines?] that i bet 70%+ of the population completely ignores.  Things like having a decent roadside emergency kit in your car.  I feel like that’s the kind of stuff parents tell their kids to do and hearing it from adult peers risks coming off as condescending if you do it wrong?  Have you found good ways to bring up this topic without getting ridiculed or dismissed, even in measured ways?

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Advice/suggestions on tents?

Hi everyone,

I am about to start researching tents for a camping trip. I would like it to be dual purpose so I can include it as part of my “prep supplies”. Anyone have any advice on specific brands, what I should consider as I look at tents, etc?

Thanks in advance!!!

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Concealed carry while wearing a backpack?

I’m just about done with my level 3 BOB, and as I’ve been thinking things through I realized I have no idea how I would carry a concealed pistol while wearing a pack with a hip belt. The only thing I can think of that seems practical would be to carry it in a pouch attached to the hip belt itself, though presumably that would severely limit my ability to draw the gun quickly, even with a pouch designed for concealed carry. Stowing the pistol in the pack itself strikes me as a no-go. What do you guys think? Does anyone have experience with a situation like this? I’m curious to hear whatever solutions the rest of you in the community have come up with.

FWIW, my carry gun for a bug out scenario is a Glock 19, for which I have both IWB and OWB holsters.

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How do you (safely) access the water in your water heater in case of outage?

When talking about water preparedness I always hear that we should take into account the 30 or 40 or however many gallons of water stored in our water heater. I mean that if the water goes out we can drain the water heater for drinking, washing, and whatever other vital uses. But for a person like me, who’s not very handy or knowledgeable about repairs, I have no idea how to drain my water heater except in the normal way, by running the hot water in my faucet. Can anybody provide any guides or links to guides where I might learn?

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Emergency radio

I looked through the gear recs and didn’t see one specifically for an NOAA radio/charger.  I did see the information on Ham radio. But if someone’s not there yet and would like an emergency radio in their kit, any specifics ones people like?

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Turns out an old wives tale about magic soil from an Irish church was real

Found this while looking for positive stories, haha. Since the early 1800s, the people in a town in Northern Ireland called Boho thought the soil from a nearby church had healing powers. They would put some dirt under their pillow when they were sick, and the folklore was that it would heal you.

A scientist tested the soil a few years back and it turns out to have strong antibacterial properties.

It got me wondering if there are other examples of survival folklore actually being true?

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If you just started gardening or raising chickens/rabbits, how has it gone?

It’s been on my prepper wish list for a long time, but I haven’t done it yet. I saw the news stories about how covid caused a lot of people to suddenly jump into growing or raising their own food. I’m guessing it’s not as easy as people might have thought when they rushed into it in a panic.

So I’m curious… if this was you, how is it going?

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My EDC – what am i missing

I need a holster, a belt, sunglasses, maybe some tactical shoes? Prefer made in USA, of course.

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Hobby farm or homestead?

My wife and I have been talking about “doing something else” for a couple years (she quit her job, mine seems to be reaching a natural point of exit).  The time seems to be ripe for actually following-through!   I have convinced her we should add hobby farm/homestead to the mix.


1. Want to move north.  Like, New England.  Would consider upstate NY part of the acceptable geography.

2. One of us will continue to work for income, benefits, etc.

3. We have a 6 year old.  No homeschooling. So, proximity to town/schools, etc. is still going to be important.  (i.e. not too remote)

4. I enjoy, but have no allusions about adopting, the mythology displayed on all those Alaska shows (I’m pretty grounded as to the reality of small farm operations)


1. Any tips on finding a property?  Anything specific to look for (or not) up north?

2. We aren’t young… I mean, we’re young enough to have a 6 year old but we’re not 20 or 30 somethings.  Does our age matter in terms of actual labor required? In terms of finding a property that is “turnkey” vs “needs work”?

3. Any key indicators to look for?  Anything you wish you’d known before? Or that you would do differently?

4 How ridiculous an idea is it?  Dick Proenneke is good inspiration, for the challenge he took on as a middle-aged person.  But to be clear, we are definitely not going all remote-cabin-in-the-woods.

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What were your best COVID-19 preps?

We’ve had threads on prepping mistakes learned from COVID-19, but I’m curious about what you did right? As for me, I’m pretty happy that I:

Moved to a small farm outside the city limits with arable land and other natural resources Raised chickens, even if they aren’t laying as well as they once did Stocked up on disinfectants, toilet paper, and paper towels *just* before the panic-buying started Had a 3M respirator on hand Started a small salad garden in early March. We haven’t been to a store in three months, but we’ve had fresh salads a couple of times per week. Already worked from home and homeschooled my children Read More

Hello world! Why we’re launching a forum

Hello! For the first post in the new Prepared forum, we wanted to say welcome and share our thoughts on why we’ve created “yet another survival forum” and some plans for the future.

Most importantly: No company can “build” a community. Only people can do that. So while we’ll keep the lights on and the spam out, it’s up to you — the rational people out there who want to see a better preparedness forum — to create the kind of party you want to hang out at. Step up!

Part of why we started The Prepared in the first place was because existing social forums/groups weren’t the best way for people (especially beginners) to get routine information.

Other forums/groups are too often polluted with repetitive questions like “should I buy a Lifestraw?” or “how do I get started?”, for example.

That kind of information is better kept in a linkable, well-researched, and professionally-written article that you can actually trust (unlike the random comments you’d get elsewhere). That’s why we started with the permanent reviews and guides in the main part of this website — and we’re still ramping up that investment even more.

Discussion forums are better for open discussions — things that aren’t easily captured in a single broad article or video.

Put another way: articles are great for building the roots, trunk, and main branches of a tree, while community discussions fill in the spaces with smaller branches and leaves.

So we think of articles and community discussions as a one-two punch. Each one is valuable on its own, but together, they help more people learn more stuff in the best way possible.

Raising the bar on moderation and quality

Another common problem in online prepper groups is the noise and nastiness that comes from bickering about hot-button topics like politics and other generally bad behavior.

Many of you have been asking us to launch this forum just so that you had a nice place to hang out that wasn’t ruined by that noise.

So that’s another reason why this forum exists: not to censor, but to create a place where anyone can talk about prepping — not where preppers can talk about anything.

Even though this is still a young project with a small team, through the support of community donations we’ve been able to hire a community moderator to show how serious we are about making this the best place on the web for meaningful preparedness conversations.

You can read more about our moderation policies and goals here:

What kinds of people and topics will be here?

There’s no way our staff can know everything about prepping, keep up with the latest gear, write about every personal scenario you might be facing, and so on. That’s where you come in.

Thankfully there are so many knowledgeable and helpful people in this community! Thank you to everyone who’s offered to contribute to developing the main knowledge base on this website.

We hope this forum is not only a place for people to learn, but also to share:

If you bought a product and want to share your thoughts, do it! If you grew up fishing in a harsh climate and have advice that general fishing guides might skip, share it! Curious about how to power a CPAP machine while off-grid in the Pacific Northwest where solar exposure isn’t great? Ask! Do you work in a relevant job (such as a power plant engineer) and want to explain the weak points in the system? Preach it! Crafted a neat DIY 3-D printed project? Show it!

Not only will excellent posts and comments be rewarded, people who are either verified experts or show they are great community members will get extra labeling so you have more context about the people you interact with here.

We’ve also hired writers that were found in the community and/or will give credit for any information that helps improve the main knowledge base.

We’re so excited to hang out with and learn from you! Cheers,

The Prepared Team

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