Creating a prepping team

No man is an island and no one can succeed in a disaster alone. Mad Max, The Omega Man, I Am Legend, even The Road had guys going it alone against the post-apocalyptic hordes. But that’s not realistic. A truly prepared individual will surround themselves with like-minded others who have diverse skill sets.

The question I have is how? How do we find these people? I’ve been looking. I’ve joined groups, I’ve been on other forums. I want to enlist the people in my community,  but do so without coming on like a desperate weirdo or paranoid gun nut.

Where do y’all go to find others?


  • Comments (40)

    • 15

      We’re working on some long-term ideas to solve that digitally, but in the meantime, your best bet is to work through tangential local clubs.

      Ham radio clubs, gun clubs (eg. liberal gun clubs), CERT, Red Cross classes, street medic teams (for protests, marathons, etc.), neighborhood watch, offroading clubs, hunting or fishing clubs, hiking clubs, and so on are all places where people commonly find other preppers.

      If you’re not actually a desperate weirdo or paranoid gun nut, then simply be confident but cool in what you bring up, and if people can’t see past the stigma, then that’s on them.

      fwiw, of the time people think “gosh, I’m taking a risk bringing this up, what will they think?”, it actually turns out to be positive >90% of the time. In fact, people tend to go “whew, I’m glad someone brought this up, because I’m a prepper too!”

      • 10

        We’re working on some long-term ideas to solve that digitally…


      • 3

        What are some things you would want us to incorporate into a digital solution of finding a prepping group?

      • 6

        Okay, my dream scenario is that y’all take the algorithms for OkCupid or whatever and adapt them for a platonic prepping context. 😀 I’m joking, but not totally, because in my ideal local prepping group, the members would share a lot of core values but also have complementary skills, interests, and experiences… which is similar to the challenge of finding a partner: You need to have some things in common, but complementarity is healthy, too. 

        On a more serious level, I’m really interested in connecting with people in my city around the particular challenges we face (i.e., not just to form some sort of prepping network that mobilizes to provide for our needs in an emergency, which the above example implies). My city has some really serious evacuation bottlenecks, our entire fuel supply is poised to end up on fire in the river, and our schools are (beautiful) death traps. We also have some assets, like a great CERT network, but that’s all government-aligned. When I’m in CERT mode my role is to serve the community while representing the government. I’d really like to have a separate “offline” channel to talk with other locals about things CERT wouldn’t touch, like how the hell we individually plan to get home after a major disaster and how citizens can effectively mobilize and pressure our electeds to take early, preventative action that will protect the entire community. One of those things is too individual for CERT, the other is too political.

      • 13

        Wonderful suggestions! I appreciate you taking the time to let us know. 

        As someone who met their wife through online dating, I understand and agree with what you are saying by that model of connecting with others. It could be so valuable to be able to quickly sort by geographic region, area of expertise that meshes well with what you know but also be able to look for what you might like to learn from someone else. Being able to sort through general age range similar to yours, gender, and such can help people feel comfortable and connected to their new best friend in prepping. 

        Connecting with others about issues that are important to you is a powerful tool as well. I can see where you are coming from, and how having a group can be more impactful and be more likely to make a difference than one individual. 

        I admire that you are looking at potential hazards and dangers in your city and are wanting to improve them to save lives in the future. Talking with your city’s emergency preparedness manager/specialist can be a great way to have your ideas heard, and that person is likely to understand the dangers more than the average politician who is focused on other matters. The emergency preparedness manager is also in a position to go to the city council and have more authority and influence.

        I met with the emergency preparedness manager (not exactly sure of their title, but you get what I mean) of my local city and I just had a nice hour long chat with them. He had heard that I was into ham radio and actually sought me out and invited me to the EOC (Emergency Operations Center) for the city and asked for my opinion on their radio setup. I then had a good hour long chat in front of a 10 foot high map of the city on the wall of all the local dangers that someone might not be aware of. I would not have guessed it, but flooding and manufacturing chemical spills are a serious risk in some areas of my city. We swapped ideas for improvement to the city’s emergency response, and I came out with some great ideas and information. 

        Until The Prepared comes out with a way to help preppers connect, can I offer some suggestions? My wife recently wanted to find a doggie friend for our new dog. She used the app Nextdoor to put a call out to people in our neighborhood. She now has a dog walking group of other ladies that meets together every week. Maybe just voicing your concern on there and getting a sense of who in your neighborhood is a likeminded prepper, or at least has some concerns of disasters. Something like: “Traffic on highway 9 was ridiculous today! I can’t imagine what it would be like if we had a widespread evacuation” See who comments and agrees with you, then throw the idea out that you want to go to the town hall meeting on Wednesday and voice this concern to the city council. 

        Facebook groups can also be a good way, though I don’t have much experience of starting a group of my own. 

        Best of luck to you! I’m sure others on here can help you brain storm ideas about solutions to disasters in your area if you bring it up. Could give you more ideas to bring up to a city council.

      • 4

        Privacy is very important to me. As others mention elsewhere on this page, a big concern of mine is that by connecting with others digitally, I’m essentially making myself a target. People will know where the person with the preps is. 

        In many ways the very name is an obstacle – a “prepping group”. I think what we are all doing is just being responsible adults. It shouldn’t even be a thing. It should be the norm. You know how it’s weird if you find a house now where no one has telephone service? It should be weird to find a home that doesn’t have at least two weeks of food, water, and other essential supplies. 

        There’s also an option to “gamify”. Like maybe have a competition between neighborhoods of who can evacuate most quickly or who can most easily find potable water or whatever. It would have to be made totally fun, open to folks of all ages and abilities, and have great prizes. Trick them into learning useful stuff by making it a quest.  

        And how awesome would it be to get something written into homeowners’ associations bylaws? That a condition of home ownership is maintaining two weeks of food, water, and medical supplies? If everyone in your neighborhood is prepared, everyone is better off.  (I know some rural folks are screaming but there are so many people that do live in neighborhoods with HOAs, why not work with what you have?) 

        Or get it written into real estate laws – whenever a new lease is signed, or a home purchased, the landlord or seller has to include two weeks of suitably stored water, food (rice and beans would be fine!), a first-aid kid, and a fire extinguisher. The more we can normalize that this is what responsible people do, the easier it will be to find a community to talk about things because everyone will do it as part of normal, everyday life.  

      • 3

        Your comment reminds me of the forum post by that guy who wanted some hard prepping challenges: https://theprepared.com/forum/thread/seeking-ideas-for-prepper-related-challenges-experiments/

      • 2

        What a wonderful topic. It’s great to hear this site has ideas on how to improve connections.

        I’m glad to hear John praise the value of joining local clubs. That’s how it worked for me. In our case we just got very lucky, volunteering in our community. We volunteered with a few neighbours who had similar views and interests over several years, and the more we got to know them, the better we meshed. It turns out they are also very interested and enthusiastic about gardening and firearms. So fortunately I have some local gardeners that I can learn from and swap tips. The more I brought up topics such as food storage, first aid classes, etc. they kept agreeing and had also done those things. It took a few years to find them, but looking back I am very glad we did some volunteer work.

      • 2

        How can I find a centrist or liberal gun club in North Florida? Lots of extremism just beyond the city around here. 

      • 2

        LGC has a FL chapter. Check them out.

    • 9

      I think this is a great question.

      I don’t know that this will necessarily work for you, but I’ll throw it out in case it worked/would work for others. Results may vary.

      I’ve found that our current pandemic has readily brought conversations about preparedness out of the darkness when it comes to talking with family, friends, neighbors, and even some former coworkers. For some, having this kind of conversation was easy. Five minutes into talking and we’re in agreement about a lot of things.

      For others, it’s a longer conversation -one that takes place over time, but usually starts with, “How are you doing?” then moves into a genuine, “Got everything you need?” or “Do you need anything?” (by way of “Hey, I’m headed to the store to pick up some stuff”) Sometimes, the conversation reveals an opportunity to probe a bit deeper, so, questions like “So, have your heard…?” and “What do you think about that?” are easier to raise.

      For me, it’s all about approach; and my personal approach is always centered around being genuine, mindful, and coming from a place of concern and cooperation. I find that this approach not only allows me to determine their level of self reliance, their resilience, their ability to adapt, but it also affords me an opportunity to better understand their socio-political standing while just coming across as being neighborly or a thoughtful, non-threatening, nice guy.

      Once I have all the info I need, I can decide whether or not to continue engaging with them and, eventually, inviting them into my bubble. In some cases, I’ve never even bothered to have that first conversation because I know exactly where that person stands and have already determined they’d be a liability instead of an asset.

      While you’re reading replies to your very good question, I’d like to offer (in case you aren’t already familiar with the concept) to start reading about “threat modeling” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Threat_model).

      from Wikipedia: “Threat modeling is a process by which potential threats, such as structural vulnerabilities or the absence of appropriate safeguards, can be identified, enumerated, and mitigations can be prioritized. The purpose of threat modeling is to provide defenders with a systematic analysis of what controls or defenses need to be included, given the nature of the system, the probable attacker’s profile, the most likely attack vectors, and the assets most desired by an attacker. Threat modeling answers questions like “Where am I most vulnerable to attack?”, “What are the most relevant threats?”, and “What do I need to do to safeguard against these threats?”.”

      Conceptually, most people incorporate some form of threat modeling in their daily life and don’t even realize it. Commuters use threat modeling to consider what might go wrong during the morning drive to work and to take preemptive action to avoid possible accidents. Children engage in threat modeling when determining the best path toward an intended goal while avoiding the playground bully. In a more formal sense, threat modeling has been used to prioritize military defensive preparations since antiquity.”

      Although the linked article centers around IT and technology, consider how the concept of modeling can be integrated into your search for growing a prep team. Ask yourself, “What do I want and what do I need from a team member?”, “What are ways that I can safeguard myself in the event that I’ve mistrusted someone?”, etc.

    • 10

      The only way to survive any situation is with other people to help protect you and provide items and skills that would benifit the group. Yet is most difficult to find these people. Perhaps it isn’t easy because that they have to open each up to each other. You can amass all the things you need, but you cant stay up 24/7 to protect your family.  All the skills you have to aquire takes a long time. I have estamated that I have 15,000 $ of equipment that I have gathered over the years.  I started this journey because I am the head of the household and my responsibilty is the saftey and well being of my loved ones. Years ago this acknowledgment of my goals by others where scoffed and heckled. That aint laughing now. 

      I hope this world stays safe , be kind to each other and respect each other. But Im ready if this world turns. 

      • 7

        I agree completely. I’ve got the benefit of a few more years than a lot of people who are starting to prep though I’m not an expert. Just patient and generous with advice especially now.

    • 9

      Great question, Unobtrusive! I have been wondering the same. I would really like to come into contact with “sane preppers” and being new to the idea of prepping, I worry that I could unintentionally find the kind of people I’d rather avoid.

      • 6

        After reading many opinions on bugging out. I have come to the conclusion that staying in place is a better solution.  Taking off to the woods, even though I am an experienced camper and hunter, the prospect of doing that is a big hurdle for those who have never done it. Its not the Holdiay Inn. Thats why finding a team is important. A database by state and region should be created to find others who share the same concerns. The biggest problem is revealing to others the status of your preparedness. By creating a database it is a beginning to putting people together. I believe through causual contact people can find and meet each other and assess the other person. It is vital that if you take on a team that you and them are reliable, trustworthy and comitted. No one person should be burden with all the items needed to survive. This website is the best I have seen on preparedness. I wish they would create a database so we can start.  There is so much to teach and learn about survival. I have seen what happens during a Hurricane to people when there is impending harm do to them. The scurry around at the last minute and panic do things they would never do. How fast I have seen groucery store clear out of everything a few days before a storm hits. Your a fool if you dont prepare for events if you live anywhere where these events happen annually.  I am more than willing to share my opinions of survival items and strategy. More importantly I am looking for others to survive if the SHTF.  I dont want to be the king of the clan, just alive to enjoy what God has given me and take care of my loved ones. So how about that database?

      • 8

        For a moment, the database idea sounds good.  However, as I think about it more, it also has a downside, as it now paints you as a potential target if SHTF and underprepared people start to seek opportunities to become “prepared” by trying to seize your efforts.  Think of it as hiding in plain sight.

    • 10

      Great topic.  This is something that I have actually been working on myself.  A slightly different point of view is to look at what YOU have to offer THEM.  I’m in the process of relocating several states away from where I have spent the majority of my life.  This will be a very challenging obstacle, as I will have very little/no background of people in my new area, so I will be starting totally blind.  My plan is to get to know neighbors a little first (also a challenge being an introvert, lol).  I want to make sure that I present myself well, someone that is willing/able to contribute first.  Think of it as “What can I offer to you?” before “What can you offer to me?”  If SHTF, your neighbors will be logical allies and among the most efficient in many ways.

      • 5

        Good luck on your move. Neighbors are a good way to start though I wonder how people are getting to know each other now. Maybe with sites like Next Door?

      • 8

        Getting neighbors is a good idea but also very situational. Age of the neighbor, number of people in the family. Age of the family members, medical conditions. I live in a small city. My first move is hunker down. Hitting the road is like picking of what you want in a food line. Roads were jammed to a stop in florida when people tried to flee. Along the highway people will just pick the best prospect to rob. There is no perfect answer I know. If you bug out, how far can you go on a tank of gas. Will there be gas stations open? what then. How much gas are you going to carry to where? I live in florida where every year you can be tested of your survial skills via Hurricanes. I often think where would I go if I had to leave. Another state, just find some woods and start living. Dont know the answer and I have looked on line for info. My kids families  are on my care list. So it is very conditional on each person circumstances. Reacting to each of those circumstances can be correct but different obviously, but for each of those people its the right move for their situation. There is no one fits all. 

    • 5

      Good question. For myself, I live in a city suburb in a neighbourhood established in the 1960’s, I’ve taken to noticing as much as possible when I’m out walking the dog. Who has a fishing boat or a hunting quad, who has a green thumb, is that a ham antenna on that house/garage? Sometimes it’s really subtle things, a wood stove or fireplace being serviced that catches my attention and gets me thinking there’s a little preparedness going on. What I also notice is people hiring lawn companies, families with kids who seem to have a lot of activities but don’t ever pack up for camping, fishing, or hunting. I try to know what’s going on around me so I’m more aware of who might be approachable if things get crazy. There are about 50 houses on my short street and I’ve got three homes pegged for above average preparedness and one for medical help with below average preparedness. Two of the first three I made sure to chat with regularly and exchange contact info. One of those two also has law enforcement and medical experience. We’re friendly enough with the third but I don’t include them with my preparedness plans as they’re not physically capable people. They’ll be taking care of themselves and that’s about it. The rest will be liabilities requiring hand holding to get through. Other than that, when I’m on social media and I see, for example, photos of meals made from scratch, posts discussing weekend excursions,  I know who has a good basic preparedness mindset.

      Make sure you don’t advertise what you’re up to too much. Ask how someone spent they’re weekend, ask about hobbies or work, notice as much as you can. 

    • 5

      I just want to know how to get on a bunker short list.  Like all the underground cities our government and the military have built.  Better yet, a large private bunker, like an old converted nuclear silo site.  Please reach out and contact me if you are interviewing for openings, lol.  Some cities have underground options.   Would love to own land with an underground cavern… and a source of water.  The cost of building your own bunker is out of reach for most.  And people that do it often end up with something that leaks that they would never want to live in.

      • 5

        You ever spent much time in a bunker?  It ain’t easy.  Humans weren’t meant to spend large amounts of time underground.  I was a Minuteman Missile Combat Crew Commander in North Dakota and would spend 24 hours at a time down in a launch control center.  After a while, it gets to you… even after just 24 hours.  I think your money would be better spent buying some nice, rural property.

      • 3

        Guess I just wish I could upgrade to a fortress then.  I just can’t accept the idea that a family can’t go it alone for extended periods.  People are way too flaky and self concerned.  I could see rejoining a community during a rebuild phase.  But I could also imagine scenarios in which you would want to “bunker down” in a fortress and avoid all contact for a year or longer.  Several phenomena could blot out the sun for 3 to 5 years… and sharing your supplies with anyone (less prepared than yourself) during that time simply reduces your lifespan.

      • 6

        Once again, I’d say humans aren’t made to stay locked up in a fortress for extended time.  We are social animals made to be outside.

        IMO, the best solution is to live a rural life, far enough from the city that wandering hordes are not your main concern.  In that regard, I expect the suburbs will very quickly put up barriers to stop the influx of city folk.  They will find natural barriers, such as streams or rivers, to halt all traffic.  That has happened around New Orleans after a hurricane, where the suburbs blocked bridges headed out of the city.  Once evacuees are limited to foot travel, they won’t make it very far into the country.

        In my situation, I live on a very rural, dead end lane off a county road headed to nowhere.  There are around 10 famlies on that lane.  Two of those famlies are farmers that have nice sized cattle herds.  Now I don’t belive either is a prepper, but just their having their farming equipment & cattle makes them an asset.  That then would form the core of a community… after the crisis.  I would expect with all resources put together, including the lakes & ponds & wild game, plus my thousands of lbs of stores, we could add the other famlies on the lane.  They would be needed to help with security & farming.

        I agree with your assesment of people, and that is why I will never attempt to build a team or community prior to a crisis.  After a crisis, when people understand they will starve & big government will not come & save them, that is when I feel people will be willing to come together.

        If living the rural life is not a possibility, then I suggest city preppers find a rural community close to home, that would be relatively safe after a crisis.  I suggest they visit often, attend church & purchase from local shops.  Make yourself known.  Point being, create a place where you can bug out & be accepted… not run off.  I truly believe living in the country is one’s best chance to survive.  I greatly prefer being out farming, hunting & fishing rather than hiding like a rodent.

      • 3

        Wish I lived on a dead end country road.   I live just outside a small town in the country and also imagine them using barricades which would help my security from one direction at least.  Unfortunately I live along a highway.  Guy next to me has a small clutch of cows.  Neighbor across the street has 800 acres and significantly more.  Farmers (cattle) are definitely sitting pretty in a SHTF scenario.  Nice job on the food storage.   I’m probably down around 1000 lbs. total.  (Basically a years worth of food and water for two.)  I’d rather have a 5 year supply of food and water for a major SHTF.  We only have an acre ourselves.  I’ve taken note of migrant wildlife in the area as well as the wild plum and acorn trees on the property and have considered sowing amaranth and other ‘wild edibles’.  If the wife didn’t keep talking about moving I would plant fruit trees and consider introducing myself at least to farmer john across the way.  I would say its wise to assess but not necessarily reach out to everyone around you pre-disaster.

      • 5

        Sorry… that’s 25 to 30% less on a 100k house.

      • 1

        Redneck I always appreciate hearing your perspective and experiences. Thanks for sharing.

    • 6

      The internet is a very useful tool for finding like minded people.  Get to know them online, meet them in a group setting, share ideas and experiences, network, and see what develops. 

      About 18 years ago I joined my first internet prepping forum.  A year or so later I bought a 1250 acre hunting property. Once every year I invited select individuals from that forum to attend a free week long camp on that property. I tried to select people who held similar views to myself and who had a useful skill. Sometimes I got it wrong, and those people were never invited again, but mostly I got it right, and a core group of a dozen or so people with a diverse range of skills and experience was created. This group still meets annually on one of my properties, and we have all become firm friends. We help each other out, and the benefits can be substantial. For example, we have a butcher, an electrician, electronics technician, mountaineer, welder, outdoor store owner, archer, glazer in this group, all willing to share their skills for free among the group. It has saved me thousands of dollars over the years. 

      • 5

        That is a really need experience that you have had. I too would like to work on growing my prepping circle and get together with other preppers to go camping, see their gear, and swap skills with. 


        The internet is a great place to meet a variety of people. Hey, I met my wife online, so why not a prepper friend!?

      • 6

        Am starting to rehabilitate my group, “Hurricane Alley Disaster PReparedness Group”.  I still have the name recognition by VDEM – Virginia Dept of Emergency Management, some VOADs – Volunteer Orgs Active in Disasters and other NGOs.

        Gideon, once established who I should be contacting, John R, our founder/CEO of TP.com or yourself, will present my ideas on groups under auspices of TP.com.

        Started a little capital formation-well below $1K but enough for items needed for outdoor FEMA and HHS meetigs such as lanyards.  We’ll make our own ID cards. Was searching web for volume purchase eg 10-12 large feather flags you folks design.  Sell area groups 2X retail price for your funding to support chapters. Specific group designation could be by a “battle streamer” for flag.  We’d make our own pole and attachments. As an aside, in this era of the pandemic, my favorite slogan comes from friend in Alaska gleaned from his area newspaper:  “Alaska: Social Distancing Since 1959”.

        Am working on infrastructure development, superstructure … any flag pole of a group involved in preparedness is ipso facto obliged to have pole topped with a strobe light for parking lot fairs.  

        My efforts are accelerated because was recently told opportunities to help on vaccination distribution programs and “mingle” with our Prep sociey’s key folks.

        Later, other plans to teach subjects and maybe participate in a Citizens Corps function. Much depends on who shows up for initial meetings.

        Will mention my best recent  meetings meetings in our social distancing environment (were’nt Prepper type) was a Interstate welcome centers/rest areas.  We were outside, building nearby.  Someone brought a “box” of coffee in internal plastic bag.  It was good brew.  Someone else brought some Hardy’s stuff.  I brought some Trader Joe’s chocolare Biscotti cookie cake type of “health food”. (Justifications needed !)

      • 6

        Bob, that is great that you have a group that you are apart of. I hope your rehabilitation of that group goes well.

        I think you may have had a typo in your question, which is preventing me from giving you the best answer. I’m not sure what you meant by the word “auspices”. 

        If you are wanting to share information about your process of starting and running a group, here in the forum would be excellent and benefit many others i’m sure. If you want to talk about something else and want to run it by us, emailing hello(at)theprepared(dot)com will send an email that both of us will see if you have a specific question. 

      • 6

        Well received, Gideon,

        Had used the word” auspicies” to mean holding some affiliation with TP.com.

        Yes, indeed, hoping to share our startup development projects, lessons learned, with forum participants.  Also need to ask John and you some questions and float some ideas.  Just recorded the mentioned”hello edress”.

        Much going on here at a rapid pace.  Was asked to help out with Virginia’s immunization programs’ admin aspects in field environment such as drive – in makeshift clinics. Also asked to help out with parking lot assistance for the many inauguration events and receptions next month.

        Wasn’t a typo.  I’m not writing clearly.  Still finishing up last of 2 Shingles shots with minor and anticipated reactions.  This is coupled to being ultra-busy and prone to rush things.  Must remember to “make haste slowly” !

      • 6

        Oh thank you for the clarification. You know those words that just don’t look like they are spelled correctly? But you say then out loud and they make sense? Maybe it is just me, haha, but this was one of those times. I know what you meant now. 

        Yes, send us an email when you would like to and we can look over it. 

        I hope your shots go well and you can get over that soon. 

      • 2

        Appreciate well wishes, Gideon.

        All these shots are a headache – but during the quarantine, my social life is not suffering, 

        I urge all forum participants to work with health care provider and get “up to date” re immunizations.  

      • 2

        That is a great prepping suggestion. Last year I went through all of my medical records that I had and made sure I was up to date on my immunizations. 

        Shots like the tetanus vaccine are good to make sure you are current on. If SHTF tomorrow, and you stabbed yourself with some debris, you might not be able to go to the hospital or your doctor to go and get that.

      • 5

        That’s cool one of your friend’s is an archer. I’ve been wanting to get into archery, but want to go out with someone first who knows what they are talking about and learn from them. A prepping group sounds like a great way to share skills and knowledge.

      • 7

        It’s actually my son who is the archer. He hunts and does target shooting with his compound bow, and his national rating, last time I checked, was 10. By that I mean 10th highest score for the year in the country. He was number 1 for a short period. Those scores were using a hunting bow in a target competition. He now has a dedicated target bow, so I expect his rating will climb.

      • 2

        Downunder – kudos on bravely taking a risk and inviting potentially great people for a camping trip. That’s a wonderful idea, and a nice way to go about it. Well done.

        Did you have to ask people a lot about their skills to determine who you wanted to invite? Or was everyone fairly open about their interests and hobbies?

    • 3

      Several books come to mind:

      MAGS, The People Part of Prepping” , and “Survival Group Handbook” by Charlie Hogwood.

      “The Reluctant Partisan”, and “The Guerrilla Gunfighter”, parts 1 and 2 by ‘John Mosby’ also has some thoughts on groups, both core and auxiliaries.

      I’m sure there are others just as good, but I have these tomes.