Why did you start prepping?

Wanting to hear feedback from this community as to why each of you decided to start prepping?  Was it a particular situation you experienced?  A book you read?  Discussions with a family member, friend or neighbor?

For me, I had toyed with idea of prepping for multiple years and I even had a good stash of freeze dried food and a biomass stove.  Lots of camping gear.  But COVID-19 was ultimately what did it for me – seeing how quickly and easily things could truly fall apart.  It was eye opening.


  • Comments (24)

    • 8

      Guess it started with Scouting where they teach you to be prepared.  As I got older, I became more concerned with society in general but especially with people’s reliance on government whenever there was a crisis… such as a hurricane.  I realized if there was a really big crisis that government couldn’t handle, there would be great unrest.  That unrest would be dangerous.  So I started storing more food & started to become more self reliant on my homestead.

      After my wife read One Second After, she told me we didn’t have enough food in storage, which was odd because she is not a prepper.  Was music to my ears so I started a many years quest to add food and garden seed into long term storage.

      • 4

        No doubt one second after was a great inspirational book for prepping, and just a really good read.

    • 6

      I can remember three events that impacted me.

      The first was a wildfire near my home. We didn’t have to evacuate but I was in college at the time and I remember having all my books next to the door ready to go. Those suckers were the most expensive things I owned and I’m pretty sure my nursing professors wouldn’t have cared if my books burned down – ha! 

      The second was hurricane Katrina – seeing the people stranded on their roofs, no access to clean water or medicine for days – just heartbreaking. 

      The final one was about 10 years ago. There were big wildfires in a neighboring state. The smoke had been like dense fog in my state for days (due to wind patterns). When it finally cleared I took my kiddos to the park up the street to play. We were there maybe 20 minutes when the wind shifted and suddenly it was dense smoke and ashes the size of dimes falling on us.

      Each of those events made me think “well I should _______” and it’s just grown from there. 

      • 7

        Man! The ash falling from the sky must have felt apocalyptic! 

    • 7

      I got into prepping due to finances. We knew we wanted to have me stay home with the kids, and we had to make some serious money moves to make that happen. Eliminating debt, a strong efund, and consistently living below our means was crucial to achieving the lifestyle we wanted.
      After we eliminated our debt and began accumulating wealth, I looked around and thought “what else can we do to improve our stability?” To me, having a bulked up pantry and ability to produce some of my own food just seemed like another form of the “asset diversification” discussed in the financial field.

      • 5

        Sounds like you’ve both got a good head on your shoulders.  Eliminating Debt is one of the things I tell others about being one of the higher priorities in regards to prepping.

    • 5

      Started about 4 years ago… probably after initially watching some episodes of “Doomsday Preppers”.  Then I went on to watch more youtube videos concerning possible SHTF scenarios.  Apparently there is like a 10% or greater chance that the planet will be smacked back to the Dark Ages within our lifetime or our children’s lifetimes.  (Perpetual winter from a mega-volcano, solar flare, asteroid,  e.m.p., nuclear exchange, etc.)  Then you take into consideration that over time things go from possibilities to becoming probabilities.  Like pandemics, rising sea levels / flooding, more extreme weather, shortages of food, fuel, and fresh water.  We are required to have car insurance, were required until recently to have personal health insurance, many have home insurance… it only makes sense to to prepare for an uncertain future.  My grandparents planted a garden and had shelves of Mason jars filled with food as a matter of course having survived the Great Depression.  Our memories are short, but food scarcity is more the norm than food abundance over a period of decades, much less centuries.

    • 6

      This is a great topic idea. I’m really enjoying reading other people’s why-I-started stories!

      I date my prepping to two specific events, the more recent of which being the day I got my dog, when he was 9 weeks old. I was in my twenties and it was the first time I had been responsible for anyone other than myself. It was also sort of the first time I was responsible for my own self, in the sense that I had just moved (alone) to a really small town, and I had never lived in a super rural area where basic services were kind of fragile. The main road connecting us to civilization would flood in big storms, power outages were just part of life in the winter, running out of water was a thing in the summer, and sometimes I ran out of propane, too. I had always kept an earthquake kit in my house and some emergency supplies in my car, but I had also ignored some really basic elements of preparedness that seemed inconvenient or annoying, like storing water. That changed when I felt like I was truly on my own in the middle of nowhere, except for this actual living creature who was counting on me.

      The other event to which I credit my prepping was the Loma Prieta earthquake, which I experienced as a kid in San Francisco. I remember it pretty vividly, and some of what happened to people close to me was pretty instructive for prepping purposes. My mom was landing at SFO when the quake hit, and she had to sort of bushwhack through the city after dark to get home, on a quarter of a tank of gas with no streetlights, traffic signals, or maps. She thought she was going to run out of gas and have to abandon the car and walk— in her business suit and high heels. 

      When I got older I started reading about the 1906 earthquake and about the geology of California. When I was in sixth grade, I saw an ad in the paper for an earthquake preparedness store in Ghirardelli Square and I begged my mom to take me there. Not just once, either. I wanted to go pretty much every weekend, which made my mom crazy because Ghiradelli Square is a crowded, touristy nightmare where parking is impossible and everything is overpriced. I think she finally bought our first two-person 72-hour pre-packaged earthquake kit to get me off her back about going to the preparedness store. I remember lovingly unpacking and inventorying the kit, and repacking it just so.

      Suffice to say, while the acquisition of the dog definitely catalyzed my prepping as an adult, I’ve had the bug for a long time, and I’m pretty sure that watching my city go to hell when I was five was how that all actually started.

    • 5

      I live in the shaky Islands of New Zealand. I live in an area likely to be affected by the hikurangi subduction zone which has the possibility of an 8.9 earthquake. We were told to expect to be on our own for a week before any help could be deployed. I live semi rural, so expect to be on our own for a longer period as they will likely focus on higher density population areas. We will not be as badly hit as other areas. The christchurch quakes were a big wakeup for many.

    • 7

      I really don’t consider myself a prepper. But after reading the BBC article about preppers going mainstream I found myself here as many of the points that I read in the article and on this forum fall in line with my lifestyle. You see, I live alone on a small sailboat (27-feet) and continually cruise along the East and Gulf coasts, so I continually have to be prepared for emergencies and being self sufficient for weeks at a time. This means, at least for me, 6-weeks of food and supplies onboard, 2-3 weeks of water, solar power, a month’s supply of diesel fuel (engine), gasoline (generator) and propane (heating and cooking). Add to that, maintenance and repair parts plus having all of the skills to conduct engine and electrical repairs, fiberglass, paint and carpentry work, sail and canvas repairs, among other things. Recently rode out the outer edge of Hurricane Zeta at anchor in Gulfport Lake, MS with no major damage while 2 larger sailboats near me (non-cruisers) were abandoned and eventually lost. Was prepared for 100+ MPH winds with enough anchors, chain and rode (anchor lines) put out…the other weren’t. So I guess my point here is that for those of us that cruise full time, “prepping” is an ingrained part of our daily lives. 

      • 7

        I’m glad to hear that you enjoyed the BBC article. About a week ago, John Ramey (founder of The Prepared who was interviewed for that article) was on a podcast for the BBC about the same topic. In this forum thread, he talks a bit more about that interview and some behind the scenes information that didn’t make it into the final product. Hopefully you will enjoy it as well.

        That sure sounds like an adventurous lifestyle, living on a boat full time! I am sure you have some stories to tell and others could learn a lot from your experiences. That truly is a lifestyle that you need to be prepared for, as you cannot just stop into the local Walmart whenever you need something. What has been one of your greatest challenges? What have you learned at sea that you will take home with you if you ever decide to live in a house on land again?

      • 5

        Gideon, thanks for the reply. Yes, it can be an adventurous lifestyle living and cruising on a sailboat. If you’ve read my brief bio you can probably deduce that I already have some other survival skills in my toolbox. And yes, I do have some stories to tell…

        Greatest challenge at sea (on this boat): Losing the rudder in a storm around midnight in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay 2 years ago. Using the headsail/jib and a sea anchor trailed of the stern, was able to navigate 4 miles back toward the Virginia coast in 6-8 foot waves where I met the towing service (TowBoatUS). 

        As for moving back on land and what lessons I’ll take with me? Well, it will probably be that I’ll look at my house the same way that I look at my boat: Do 3 things everyday that improve the boat (cleaning doesn’t count), keep up with the maintenance because boats are a bit like women….touch them in all the right places and your life is going to be great. Don’t pay enough attention to them and they will ruin your day at the worst possible moment.

        And lastly: A house is nothing more than a boat that is so poorly built that it has to remain landlocked 😉 

      • 4

        That would be so terrifying for me to lost my rudder in a storm! But as a survivalist, you adapted and made the best of your situation and survived.

        I like that idea of doing three things a day to improve your house. Same with my car. When I work on a repair every couple weeks, my car always works well and feels great, but when I let it go for a while, the things that need fixed build up and the car doesn’t work as well. 

        Hope to see a whole new forum post of some of your adventures someday! Welcome to the forum and the site.

    • 10

      My start and background is different; am probably the oldest here at forum.

      I grew up in the era of home economics and civil defense.  Related to this was Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts.  Vaguely remember in Cub Scouts dusting off some Geiger Counters in an armory.

      Home economics meant nothing is discarded.  Under the sink were numerous glass peanut butter jars.  Clothing, like now, was used to the max. All buttons sewed on with button thread; no light stuff ! All socks in repair at all times as soon as noticed in need.  Shoes and boots were saddle-soaped and polished (One of my chores).  All laces always checked for wear.

      Home repairs meant all damaged nails were hammered into shape for reuse.  All hand tools were cleaned and maintained.

      Meanwhile, in current times, the “In case of emergency, call 9-1-1” crowd is slowly absorbing and understanding that it doesn’t work to depend on. 

      • 7

        Thank you for sharing your history and experiences with us Bob. Times sure have changed! We now live in such a disposable world, where people just throw things out if they have a slight scuff or tear. Learning from how those have lived in the past, even the very recent past, can help us so much.

    • 6

      I became interested in Survivalism (it wasn’t called Prepping back then) in 1982, when my brother introduced me to the idea. He was concerned about the USA and USSR trading nukes.  I was in my last year of high school, but within 4 years had scrimped and saved enough to buy a 150ac rural property,  just in case.  I lost interest in prepping for a while, when raising my two children took all my focus, but as they got older and became more independent my interest returned.  The big Millenial Bug scare was probably the catalyst, so I followed my brother onto the main Australian survivalist forum and haven’t looked back. 

      • 8

        What are some of the things that you have done on your 150 acres? Do you have a garden or any farm animals?

        Glad you found The Prepared, I hope you enjoy the great conversations we have here and that it can be beneficial to you. Can I ask what that main Australian Survivalist forum is called?

      • 8

        I sold that property many years ago. I now own three smaller properties, so as not to keep all my eggs in the one basket.  The largest and best prepared place is approx 50 acres, with permanent river frontage, solar power, tank water, and no near neighbours. I don’t run stock because I’m not there often enough to care for them properly. We allow the neighbour’s sheep to graze on it though.  The forum was called Australian Survivalist, but no longer exists.  I’m now a member of Ausprep, and a couple of American sites, but find those too political (lot’s of threads on Antifa, Trump, Biden, the swamp(?), NWO etc). I was happy to find this forum, it seems to be focussed on prepping and full of good information.



        Secondary retreat:


      • 7

        I know you will like The Prepared then, as we do not talk about politics, just prepping.

        Those are some very beautiful pieces of land! I’m sure pretty much everyone on here would do anything to have a little homestead like those. I sure would!

      • 5

        Wow, so beautiful!

        (It’s funny— the last picture looks like it could have been taken in any of several parks in the SF Bay Area. Those eucalyptus are native to your part of the world, though!)

    • 6

      I grew up in Florida and playing Russian roulette with hurricanes each year taught me the importance of having supplies.  I guess I was a prepper before I even knew what one was.  Once I was grown I learned the importance of saving money for life’s emergencies.  I guarantee life will throw some sort of emergencies at you, and us all.  If you don’t have some reserves to handle them then your missing a big part of prepping. Of course when the pandemic hit we all got a quick lesson in how important prepping can be.  I have always known the possibility of a pandemic, the grid going down, economic depression or even a war here at home, but I never really expected to see any of them.  Even without these major events my prepping skills and supplies have made me confident I can handle most things life can hold, and that peace of mind has been worth every but if effort.

      • 6

        Building up an emergency fund is one of the #1 things everyone should do. Using your emergency fund is probably the most likely thing you will have to use in your life to overcome an emergency. Gas mask, or defending your house down to your last bullet are not very likely, but paying $400 to get your car up and running will probably happen next year. 

        Your username is Dog Lover, what kind of dog/s do you have? Do you prep for them too? I see owning a dog as a valuable prep for security, emotional support, and just cause they are awesome!

      • 9

        I have three rescues currently, but have had dogs since I was very young.  Great companions with unconditional love.  That being said, they are a lot of responsibility and I always encourage people to really consider wether they are able to properly care and provide for them for long term.  I have two mostly pit bull mixed and a collie now.  One of the pits is an old lady now and I’m doing my best to make her comfortable now.  They become part of your family, sometimes more endearing than the kids! Lol. I do believe they are an asset for prepping by the security they provide but honestly I think the way they enrich my life trumps everything else.

      • 5

        You sounds like a great dog owner. They are a big responsibility to meet their needs and give them the best lives that they can have. But they teach you so much about yourself and really do enrich our life like you said.