• Comments (95)

    • 6

      This is AWESOME! Thank you thank you. I was searching forever for a good prepper guide.

      • 2

        I’ve been looking for a nice beginning checklist for a long time too!

    • 2

      Thank you so much for this guide. I feel like I’m infinitely more prepared to handle high-stress emergency situations after reading this guide.

      • 1

        Excellent! Thanks for saying so, let us know how we can help in the future. Good luck Kien 🙂

    • 3

      Thank you so much for this guide. It’s very helpful, detailed and straight to the point. This is by far the best prepping for beginners guide I’ve ever read. I really like how you considered everything and pin point the important things. I think everyone should make early preparations for surviving any disaster or crisis. This way we can survive all the hardships. We can’t predict the future so better be safe than sorry.

      When speaking about survival, it reminds me of one of my favorite survival book. It’s really easy to understand and very useful in so many ways. It contains so many survival guides that most of us don’t even know of. My favorite part of the book is that it helps the readers to learn making their own medicine using medicinal plants that most of us don’t even know that it can be use for that purposes. The book teaches how to identify and prepare the plant for medical uses. But that’s just a small part of it. There are so much more survival guides in that book.

      Thank you for sharing this wonderful guide. I really appreciate it : )

    • 3

      Love the checklist! Thanks a lot for putting this together.

    • 2

      Thanks for this guide! It’s really helpful! I plan on getting items needed for sheltering in place at my home or at neighbor’s house shelther in place bag, then start putting my Bug Out Bag and EDC/Get Home Bag together. I plan to take a trip this year overseas hopefully, so once I start new job next week (also plan on getting second part time job for extra income), I plan on putting my travel gear together first and then start putting my sheltering in place gear, my bug out bag gear and my EDC/Get Home Bag together afterwards.

      • 2

        Happy to hear it was helpful, thanks Ryan! Starting with your shelter-in-place / home supplies is almost always the right move. Good luck!

      • 1

        https://uploads.disquscdn.c…. In the first picture, I already have my water stocked up. I reused milk jugs and orange juice jugs for that just like I reused water bottles to keep my fridge stockpiled with water. I saved up lots of water so far just in case shit hits the fan since I’ll have plenty of water to survive for awhile.

        https://uploads.disquscdn.c…. In the second picture, I have my batteries (AA and AAA, I’m going to get more batteries though) in a ziploc bag, my birth certificate, medical docs, pictures of family (mom, dad, aunt), notepad, pens, and permanment markers, social security card in another ziploc bag and finally, my iSOAT pills along with information for how to survive a nuclear attack/EMP attack and what to do is in another zip bag.

      • 1

        *Strongly* recommend not using milk jugs. Please see https://theprepared.com/hom…

      • 1

        I know, I plan on getting the recommeded water containers from your emergency water container article which I read by the way. I toss out the milk jugs though.

    • 1

      What is your stance on purchasing a “generac” type home generator?

      • 1

        Great question Tia. Generators, including some Generacs, are popular among preppers and usually a good idea. It can depend on your circumstances — for example, I wouldn’t automatically recommend it for someone in an urban apartment.

        There are unfortunately stories every year of people dying when using their generator during an emergency because they don’t have proper ventilation. We touched on that in our winter prep guide: https://theprepared.com/sit…

        We plan on doing full guides to generators and our top choices in the future.

    • 1

      Hi John,

      Thanks for responding about my generator question so quickly! Do you think there is any concern that a person with a generator might attract more attention to themselves and become a potential target? Or, am I just thinking negatively? I am definitely looking forward to reading more about generators!

      Also, can you recommend a good checklist to pack for a “kids” bug out bag? Maybe a packing list for a family using the bug out bags? Perhaps some items do not need to be duplicated? Or items that can become “kid” sized that you have tested. 🙂

      I’m really enjoying your site!
      Thanks,
      Tia

      • 1

        The “what if XYZ makes me a target?” question is very common. In general, too many people are too worried about those risks (“opsec” for operational security).

        In reality we see that things don’t devolve into lawlessness as quickly as many people assume. e.g. even after months without power and water in Puerto Rico after the hurricane, people weren’t murdering each other for their generators.

        However, if things got really bad, yes a loud generator powering the only house with lights on while others are freezing to death would attract the wrong kind of attention. But I’d absolutely rather have a generator and choose not to use it when things are risky than not have it at all.

        Thanks for the kind words about The Prepared!

        We’ve started drafting kid lists, but don’t have them ready yet. None of it is shocking though — you skip the field knife and compass, keep the weight way down, put in an extra book and bag of sugar, etc. 🙂

    • 2

      Do you have an article that would give guidance & list of recommended first aid supplies to build a good kit for the home and bugging out? If not I would like to see such an article. Thanks.

    • 1

      Thanks for the guide. It’s so much more helpful than most of the stuff I’ve seen out there. I have a question about self defense items. I am not trained in the use of knives or firearms. Am also not a street fighter and am in my early fifties and not in the “best shape of my life” physically. I’m thinking if an average person like me gets a knife, and even more so a gun, it’s more likely to be taken away from me and used against me. Do you have any resources or posts that discuss safety and self defense considerations in emergency situations for average people like me?

      • 1

        Thank you for the kind words and great questions Jonnie! Those kinds of posts are already in our plan. The Prepared is a relatively-new project and we’re working hard to get more posts up quickly (the team just grew from me to three). Sign up for the newsletter so you can see when those new posts are released.

        e.g. we started a gun 101 guide: https://theprepared.com/sel…

        In the meantime, you’ll hear different schools of thought on those questions. If you buy a gun and spend zero time learning how to use it, how to store/carry it, etc., then there can be an argument that it does more harm than good.

        But in general, we lean on the side of “better to have it than not”, especially since you should practice with any piece of gear you have and can very quickly get past that point where the risk is more than the reward.

        Knives are also more granular than just self defense. At minimum you’ll want a good camp knife: https://theprepared.com/gea…

    • 1

      I hope I’m not asking too many questions here — just very excited to find a resource for prepping I can actually use — but I’m wondering about three things not mentioned in this list. First, do you know of any resources for prepping for pets? Many households now have dogs and cats and other animals. It seems important to plan for their evacuation etc. Second, do you know of any resources for emergency preparedness and response for people with disabilities? My 75 old mother had a stroke earlier this year. She’s somewhat mobile but definitely impaired, slow and not very strong and also gets tired very fast. I’d like to help her prepare for emergencies especially since I probably won’t be able to get to her in time. And lastly, I’m wondering how to plan for taking or not taking family treasures and keepsakes when we’re forced to bug out. I mean things like photo albums family heirlooms…. I’m assuming that we’d all want to save some of them if we can.

      • 1

        You’re most welcome to. We started TP because we couldn’t find a practical resource either, so I know the feeling!

        Pets and disabilities are posts we intend to do (and have already started collecting research for). To foreshadow: Unfortunately, there aren’t a ton of practical and valuable answers on the disability side, but we’ll see what we can put together.

        Heirlooms is a tough one. It’s not practical to carry lots of stuff because there’s a good chance you’ll be strapped for time/weight/space already even excluding the “nice to haves”. A few pictures or a small token is likely the baseline, and if it’s a situation where you have some time to pack the car etc etc, then you can add more things like scrapbooks.

        In the end, you’d rather have water and medicine than a picture of grandma, and emergencies often force us to make painful choices.

        The best thing to do is to hedge against normal ‘disasters’ like digital data loss. We’ll do a guide on that, too.

    • 2

      About the crank operated flashlights and radios you recommend… Every single crank flashlight or radio I’ve had over the years, and I’ve had quite a few, has gone dead after some months or years of non-use. I am guessing the battery goes dead after a while from non-use, but I don’t know why. The thing is, these types of tools are inherently for intermittent use. I need my crank flashlight sometimes, maybe once every couple of months at most, and I don’t ever need my crank radio unless I’m in an emergency. So, it’s not very reassuring to not know if they will work when they’re needed. Because of this I’ve been hesitant to buy them. Is there something I’m missing? Something I should be looking out for to get ones that are reliable?

      • 1

        You’re spot on Jonnie. I’ve had the same experience over many products and many years, so I generally dislike that kind of gear.

        There may be a killer answer out there but we haven’t seen it yet. We include links to some here because many people intend on buying those categories regardless, so we want to help get the relatively-best ones.

        We also plan on doing a deep field test of those products this year, including testing energy shelf life.

        You can avoid those types of products through diligently storing and rotating batteries, having a solar setup to recharge, etc.

    • 1

      Why do we need fire starter kits, stormproof matches and mylar blankets for staying put in our homes? Is this for people who live in hurricane and flooding zones? I live in California where the main danger in the natural disaster department is from earthquakes, fires and the occasional power outage. I’m thinking that I could just use regular matches for lighting a camp stove to prep my emergency food, and maybe have a couple of lighters with the longer tips that are used to light gas stoves when the pilot light is out. Isn’t that good enough?

      • 1

        Sounds like you’re getting stuck in scenario tunnel vision, one of the most common prepping mistakes: https://theprepared.com/pre…

        It’s good to think about your risks, like earthquakes, but a good prep can handle a wide range of possibilities and has built-in redundancy. It’s not just about earthquakes vs. fires etc, it’s also about all the ways an earthquake can disrupt you. e.g. Your house might crack in half and the kitchen floods from a burst pipe and your normal matches are soaked.

        We do assume that a typical house has normal blankets, normal matches, the long-tip BBQ lighters, etc. It’s about building in redundancy on important things like water and heat.

        You could decide “I have the emergency blanket and fire starter stuff in my BOB, which I keep at home, so I don’t also need that kind of survival gear in my home supplies.” You’re better off than nothing, and if you stopped there we wouldn’t judge ya for it, but you don’t have your bases covered as well as we recommend.

        It’s always a tough balance. You can’t ever be fully covered. But this model (home supplies + BOB at home + GHB out of home) is the best basic way to get the right coverage.

    • 2

      I just ordered and taste tested a bunch of ration bars and other “survival foods” and found I liked SOS New Millenium bars better-they also have a 5 year shelf life, claim to stand up to hot and cold and are also Coast Guard approved. I did find the Datrex more conveniently packaged as a solid block with individually wrapped “rations”, however, just enjoyed the fruit flavored shortbread quality of New Millenium better. Do you know of any other advantages of Datrex to these?

      • 1

        Thanks for sharing. No advantages come to mind — the big factors on these are cost:calorie, volume:calorie, shelf life, and taste.

        If you tested more than the ones you described here, I’d love to hear about it for when we do a proper taste test among all of the possible product options! Always helpful to have more practical data.

      • 1

        I tried SOS Food labs ration bar (in cinnamon) – I think this was from the same company as the New Millenium bars, the texture was similar but it was 9 bars wrapped in one package resulting in a similar size to the Datrex package, 5 years shelf life, 3600 calories
        Grizzly Gear emergency rations- packaged as 3 breakable bars, like sugar cookie dough with extra vegetable shortening, greasy, 5 year shelf life, 3600 calories
        Survival Tabs-yuck, mostly made of whey, so they taste like eating a dried clump of protein powder, but they have a 25 year shelf life
        I’m waiting on a Mainstay bar

      • 1

        And the Mainstay bar is very similar to Grizzly Gear- greasy cookie dough

    • 2

      Out of sheer curiosity, when it comes to packing clothes in your BOB, how many days change of clothes would you recommend? Any specific brands of survival-ish or just plain tougher shirts and pants you’d recommend?

      • 1

        We’re working on that checklist as we speak, so keep an eye out over Q1 for that post. But to foreshadow, we keep a pair of pants, two pairs socks, one pair undies, short sleeve, long sleeve, jacket, and hat. We’ll do reviews on specific clothes later, but you definitely want more “technical” or outdoor-oriented clothing: no cotton, uses light materials, quick dry, etc.

    • 3

      Great article… will be tuned In for the further reviews of different items…

    • 1

      I bought the bottle top propane stove. It says that because the stove consumes oxygen it should never be used indoors. But if the weather is bad outside and you’re stuck indoors, how do you cook? Also, is it safe to put it on wood, or should it be a non-flammable surface?

      • 1

        Non-flammable / flame-resistant surface is always preferred, and keep flammable stuff like blankets at least a few feet away. Burning propane indoors is always risky, but can be mitigated and some models are “safe” for indoors. See https://theprepared.com/sit…

    • 1

      For future write-ups it would be helpful to know how to use mylar blankets properly. I have had very minimal experience with mylar blankets but I know that they are sort of unwieldy, really hard to fold once you take them out of their little packaging and that they tear easily. Also I’ve readthat they don’t work like regular blankets, so if we’re relying on them for our primary method of staying warm we should know how to use them properly.

      • 1

        Thanks for the request, we will, and you’re generally correct about the challenges!

      • 3

        Mylar has a few characteristics that make it both useful and problematic as a blanket material.  It holds static electricity so things cling to it like dust lint etc.,.  It is waterproof, so it can be a shelter from rain or sleet.  However, when used alone as a blanket, mylar does not breathe so any moisture produced by your body will be trapped.  If it’s cold, that moisture can lead to hypothermia- when you’re wet, heat is dissipated much more quickly from your body.  If you are clothed or have a cloth (wool or polartec or down is best) blanket, use the mylar as an additional outer cover.  You can leave part of the mylar open so it breathes rather than building up moisture underneath.  i recommend the double strength mylar with one side mirror finish and the other safety orange.  There are also mylar “sleeping bags” that can provide a quick warm up, but again, moisture build-up can be a problem.  I honestly don’t know how flammable mylar is, but keeping it away from open flame is a must.  Despite these drawbacks, mylar is a cheap, lightweight essential for any bug out bag.

    • 1

      Thank you! I’m excited to get started following the advice on this site.

    • 1

      Hey, guys, what’s the best way to store medications in the BOB and at home? I take a lot of meds and supplements. Actually, I’m not very clear on which ones it makes sense to keep for emergencies, because they’re not all essential for my survival and well-being short term, and long term it probably won’t matter if I have two weeks’ worth if civilization melts down. But for now anyway, I went to some significant effort and some expense to stash two weeks of all my meds and supplements in my BOB and another two weeks in my house. I had to bug my doctors about getting extra prescriptions and pay some money out of pocket for extras. But after all that I’ve discovered that my method of storage isn’t good. I used these pill pouches for storage: https://www.amazon.com/gp/p… but I recently found out from my nutritionist who is also a pharmacist, that this is not a good way to store pills long term. She says plastic bags let in some air. Now I’m afraid I’ve spoiled the whole stash. But I’m also at a loss of how else to store it. Keeping lots of bottles in my BOB and even at home is super bulky.

      • 1

        Hi @Jonnie, we are actually currently working on our medical guides (which will be out this quarter).

        The most important thing with medications is to keep them cool and dry. The biggest risk from exposure to air is moisture/humidity. I would suggest vacuum sealing pills and tablets (and if you have prescriptions in capsule form, see if you can get them as tablets). As far as your current stash, examine the suspect medications for discoloration, texture changes, or smells. If they have any discard them, otherwise they are most likely fine.

        Also, kudos for thinking ahead and getting extra scrips for meds you need and keeping them ready to go!

    • 1

      Thanks for the thorough research and information that is provided on this page. Exactly what I needed to get started. There is something coming, we all feel it, but just don’t know what or when it will come. Better be properly prepared and educated for the best possible outcome. Most articles just give links on all inclusive survival bags, food ect. This articles goes far beyond that and to actually prepare the prepper. Thanks again!

      • 1

        Welcome, thank you for saying so, and see you around the community!

    • 1

      Great site! You have a new subscriber!

      What are your thoughts on bike for use in prepping? I use to be an active member of a St Louis MO base prepping “squad” and the use of pedal bikes was the best way to get out of the city and move around.

      Plus the use of a a bike trailer greatly aids in the hauling of stuff. And yes, it does make a good target for others. But I would inmagine anything would make you a target in a bad situation.

      • 1

        Thank you Jerry, welcome!

        Bikes are wonderful. When we do more content around vehicles (it’s been a lower priority as we build up the site since sheltering-in-place is usually the default choice) we plan on talking heavily about bicycles.

        Yeah, anything visible that is valuable could make you a target in some cases, but I’d rather have a bike than not.

      • 2

        Oh, good.  I was going to ask the same question.  I’m in NYC and don’t have a car, but have a much-used folding bike.  I’m focusing on shelter-in-place and then sort of short-term, on-foot bugout, but I think the bike would be a great option for more serious bugging out.  Look forward to your content.  In the meantime, do you know of good resources (on the sane, commonsense corner of the Internet)?

    • 1

      first, thanks for this thorough guide! my partner and i have been preparing for emergencies in the sf bay area for over 5 years but this still pointed out some decent sized holes our in setup.

      i was a bit surprised that nowhere in home supplies did u mention how to deal with human waste if the water is knocked out. living in an apartment, we cant just go dig a hole in our backyard. and many urban preppers are in a similar boat.

      we have a 5gallon bucket with an attachable toilet seat lid, and portaquick NASA kits that (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B… in our home supplies. i’m interested in your thoughts on the matter

      • 1

        Glad helpful! Most of our team used to live in SF as well (see https://theprepared.com/blo…. I’m curious what holes you identified in your preps?

        This guide is about to undergo a major update, and waste will be more specifically called out — although it wasn’t here initially because this was focused on the 80-20 basics, and we thought most people could make do with waste if they only had that minimal baseline.

        We’re also in the middle of testing a dozen different packable toilet papers.

        The bucket solution you have is fine. Some people DIY with a $5 bucket and a pool noodle. You want saw dust (or whatever) on hand to cover each use, creating ‘sealed’ layers over time. I assume you have soap etc too.

      • 1

        our main hole was differentiating med supplies as home use vs BOB use. second was was hip straps on GHB/BOBs – somehow it never clicked that carrying around heavy things on our backs without support would be problematic even though all of our day hiking backpacks have at least a thin hip and chest strap.

        we are looking forward to the coming update! i had guessed that it fell outside of the 80-20 rule for most people. we had been planning to use kitty litter (since we always have at least 10 lbs of it on hand), what are your thoughts on that as the ‘sealed’ layers vs saw dust?

        we have pump sanitizer and a dedicated camp soap to cover our waste cleansing needs, both human and feline. keep up the great work!

      • 1

        Thanks! We’re close to finishing a big purchasing guide on backpacks (recently shared a pic of a fraction of the bags we’re testing on https://www.facebook.com/Ho… and a hip belt is strongly recommended, even on the smaller minimalist packs.

        Kitty litter: It’s likely fine and far better than nothing. But we’ve heard from some people that they don’t think it covers and absorbs as well as other things (eg. sawdust) because it’s designed to clump/remove instead of cover/mute.

    • 1

      Hi, guys. I’m trying to get back into slow prepping mode, after letting it slide for some months. Don’t know where to put this question, so leaving it in the beginner prepping area… Landlines. I am one of a fast shrinking number of people who still has a landline phone in addition to my cell phone. My landline is my main phone service. I talk on the phone a lot. I find the sound and convenience of it so much nicer, plus no problems with reception in the house. Technology does improve though, and it’s possible that at some point I’ll give up my land line for a cheaper and better solution.

      I’m worried though about what happens in cases of emergencies. How are all those people who don’t have landlines going to communicate when the electrical system goes down for more than a few hours? Cell phone reception isn’t always reliable, and I’m not even clear — do cell phone towers all stay active when there’s no electricity to power them? And there is the problem of keeping your cell phone powered. Isn’t it better to have traditional phone service available?

      • 1

        Welcome back. Great question. Currently, landlines typically work even when the main electrical grid goes down (assuming your phone base doesn’t have a separate electrical wall plug). It’s hard to know if/how that will continue as companies/municipalities stop investing in land line infrastructure.

        Whether a power outage takes down your local cell towers is hard to say — the power to your home might be down, but the tower 2 miles away is fine and/or has backup power.

        5G and micro satellites over the next decade should really improve signal coverage, even in more rural areas.

        But you should always have the ability to at least receive information, if not have two-way convos when the grid is down. That’s why a NOAA radio is the baseline, or if you’re a Ham radio operator or want to become one, that’s better: https://theprepared.com/sur…

    • 0

      I’m wondering if you guys have any guidelines for what kinds of contact information we should have printed out for emergencies? I am a bit of a data hoarder, particularly when it comes to contact information that helps me stay in touch with people, so my impulse is to print out a whole lot of contact information for my closest 1000 friends. But this is probably impractical for emergencies. Also, what other types of organizations might we need on our contact list?

      • 3

        A post just about that is already drafted, with the first chunk coming out in a few weeks when this page and BOB list update. Stay tuned.

    • 1

      This page is a great resource. Thank you.
      A BoB should be enough supplies and equipment to get you from the source of danger to a place of safety. A preplanned place to go with available or pre-staged resources. It could be a hotel, Aunt Betty’s house, and evacuation camp, or your stocked getaway.
      If you live in a urban environment where a vehicle could become useless due, traffic, or road closures then the possibility of waking is real. Have a plan! Don’t just grab your bug out bag and head into the sunset.

      I live in the Mojave desert, the situation will have to be dire for me to hoist a pack and walk out the door. I cannot carry enough water to get very far.

      Another way to look at BoBs are the most likely situation/reason you need to leave your home, Right Now! If we have to evacuate due to a localized threat i.e. fire, flood, chemical spill, etc. We won’t be bugging out to the wild, we’ll grab our bags and head for a friend’s house in the next county or a hotel, or maybe a hospital in the next town to be with an ailing person. What will you need?

      Consider packing a duffel bag with: A change of clothes or two, a jacket, phone charger/ power bank, car adaptor, water ( several bottles) cash, a bic lighter, a notepad and pen, digital back ups of important documents, pictures, etc., medications, headlamp/batteries, water filter, first aid kit, hygiene needs, 2-3 days of calories (the lifeboat rations are fine) snacks (nuts, granola bars, candy), comfort items: Bible, small fleece throw, a kindle/computer, small pillow, etc.
      With your car kit and EDC your bases will be covered.

      I have had to leave suddenly (family emergencies) and been able to grab my bag and not have to pack for an overnight stay while stressed and distracted. Some items like the water filter give my inner Prepper soul comfort, you know “just in case.” Others like the phone charger and cash are practical as I often forget to pack them.

      Yes, I have a backpack with ALL the recommended items listed on this very comprehensive page for me and my wife. It is my GHB when on long road trips.
      I check them every six months to change from Summer to Winter gear, my wife accuses me of “playing with my toys.”

    • 0

      I am hoping someone can answer a few questions. We just moved to a house that already has a huge ham radio tower. It is about 35 ft high. We line in the woods with lots of mountains but we are at one of the highest points in the area. If I bought a radio (and got my license) what kind of radio should I get? I want to be on the HF frequency.

    • 2

      Hey,

      thank you for this guide—this is exactly what my family was looking for. Is there any more detail you could give on how much cash would be ideal? Also, do you have any thoughts on what happens if the American dollar becomes de-valued? Would you suggest also getting other country’s currencies or gold? Thanks in advance!

      • 1

        Glad it’s helpful Alison. I hope to write more on these topics soon. A lot of people wonder about cash/gold/etc amounts, but there’s really no answer other than “however much you can reasonably stash.” Depends a ton on your personal circumstances. Many folks tend to keep around 5% of their liquid assets in these “hedges.”

        Diversification is almost always a great way to protect against economic problems. Just like you wouldn’t have all of your eggs in one stock market company’s basket, so too is it a good idea to not have all of your eggs in the US dollar basket. Gold/silver and other metals are one way to do that. Crypto is another, as is foreign currencies. They’ll help lesson the blow of a US-dollar-specific issue, but governments don’t always make it easy to hold wealth across borders, google “FBAR” for an example.

        If you’re curious about crypto/bitcoin: https://theprepared.com/prepping-basics/guides/cryptocurrency-blockchain/

    • 2

      Years ago, in one of my earlier stalled attempts to prepare for emergencies, I saw a write-up from one of the local agencies that suggested that we keep emergency supplies in a trash can. So, I went out and bought myself a large new trash can, put it in a nook in my back yard, and filled it with all manner of stuff I thought would be useful if I had to live in a tent. Not food or water, however, since these wouldn’t last long in a trash can outside. There it all still sits, some 15 years later. Am I right to think this was totally impractical advice? I think the idea was that you could wheel your trash can along, but only if you’re on a good road and how long are you going to be going along wheeling a trash can when the s*** hits the fan? Escaping from a fire with a trash can? Now I’m thinking I should dismantle it, although it’s decent storage for camping gear. Have you guys ever heard of this advice?

      • 2

        Have never heard that! Yeah, it seems impractical. Sometimes agencies/etc will have odd little quips like that, and in some cases it’s just some low-level marketing worker who thought it sounded smart. Another recent one is local news telling people to put their valuables inside of a dishwasher when hurricanes/floods come.

    • 2

      Great article.  For the Get Home Bag, you say to just use a slightly modified version of the Bug Out Bag checklist. The Bug Out Bag article lists a L1, L2, and L3 bag.

      Are you suggesting to have a more or less identical L1-L3 bag at home and in the car?

      • 3

        Essentially yes. It’s up to you how serious you want to go with your GHB. Some people want it to be a fully-functioning bag so they can bug out / survive if things happen while away from home, while others want a smaller kit only designed to “get them home.”

        Personally, I want a fully-capable bag near me at home and in my car because I don’t want to be forced to get back to my home. There could be scenarios where that’s not wise.

      • 2

        Thanks for the response!  Will probably start with a get-home-bag and build from there.

    • 1

      I don’t know if you saw, but I posted some questions in the fire starter kit review page…

    • 2

      On the subject of preparedness, I just heard a pretty alarming prognosis of how the Chinese coronavirus is on the path to becoming a massive pandemic with hundreds of thousands of cases a day. At least it’s not as lethal as ebola, but still. I wonder if you have any particular tips for preparedness for the possibility that this might happen and that it might come to our shores…

      • 1

        You may want to keep an eye on our Wuhan coverage, where we’re working with scientists and local non-party sources for breaking news and analysis: https://theprepared.com/blog/ — some of our reporting has since been used by CNN and others.

        There isn’t anything particularly special to do to prep. We build our recommendations, like everything on this page, to cover a wide range of scenarios.

        Imagine, for example, that you’re suddenly confined to your home for a month (as part of an effort to halt the spread). Can you do that comfortably?

        Respirators, eye protection, gloves, and proper hygiene practices (washing hands, social distancing, etc.) are the best specific ways to deal with a virus like this at this stage.

    • 4

      Thank you so much for all this amazing and useful information. My daughter and I are extremely grateful that someone has put out something that’s not zombie apocalypse related and more real to life. We will be changing a few things in our emergency bag as well as our home emergency supplies now that we’ve got the right list. We appreciate your helping us see how important all the supplies needed are for our survival cuz of the way you explained everything in detail. Again thanx so much for this article.

      • 2

        So glad it was helpful Gloria, thanks for saying so.

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      I know you’ve probably got a list a mile long for topics, but an article on sanitation during a crisis would be awesome. Specifically, how to dispose of human waste, trash, etc.

      Thanks for the work you all put in to this!

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        Thank you for the sympathy! A mile long to say the least (and we’re only three people). Yep, that’s on the list. Including things like corpse handling.

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      First of all thank you so much for the sane and reasonable information!!  I’ve was completely turned off by the online preppier information the last time I looked into it and ended up coming up with my own plans.  After living on the gulf coast for 20 years I’ve been through many of the emergencies everyone here is preparing for (hurricane evacuations, living without power, helping friends with flooded houses, helping friends evacuate for forest fire etc.) Based on my experiences I feel you have missed something critical on this page – the need to know people in your local community!  Friends, family, neighbors, and even associates like co-workers are lifelines when everything falls apart, and their generosity in a crisis is nothing short of amazing.  It was especially apparent after Hurricane Harvey when everyone poured out to help flooded neighborhoods – they showed up to help rescue people in their boats, gut houses, hand out hot food, and even direct traffic (and many of these were strangers!)  They are also your network of local information – like which parking lots are safest to park you car when your street is starting to flood or which gas stations have fuel today.  Realistically you cant prepare for everything, but a social support network will help fill in the gaps for you and those you connect with.  Just my 2 cents – thanks again for the great site and excellent coverage of COVID-19!

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      Hello! I found your site a few weeks ago and it has been tremendously helpful in jogging my memory as I prepare to shelter in place. I’ve created an account and am attempting to update my food list with what I have purchased. I like the idea of having a quick one page place I can use to remind myself what I have on hand. I’m struggling to get it to update as I add things, like “total” the items, at first I thought it was because I was entering some things in oz (think canned fish) and then entering some items in lbs (like bulk beans) however I converted everything to oz’s and still no totaling and items keep disappearing that I’ve entered. I’m not the most computer literate, I’m using my MacBook Pro and wonder if there is some way to transfer your formula into a program on my computer, perhaps that is the point? I’d be grateful for any direction. I’m sure you are inundated with questions, I know I’ve shared your site with quite a few folks. I look forward to hearing from you. Thank you

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      Hi, I I’m hoping someone could give me some food storage advice.

      I’m out of smaller mylar bags but have some larger ones. Too large for any single item I want to store. Is it safe to put items I would use together – say, sugar and flour – in individual zippered bags inside the mylar bags? Do the zippered bags leech over time, or do you think the smells/flavors would mix?

      Thanks in advance!

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        Depending on the brand of bag you’re using, it should be pretty safe. Both Ziploc and Glad bags are BPA-free, which is the chemical you want to avoid. While they are a little more expensive than store brands, they may be worth the spend to preserve the food’s flavor. Some people do feel that food stored in Ziploc-type bags don’t taste as well as other options over time.

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      Thank you all so much! I am a little late into it, he he, but better now then never right? I have been trying to prep for a while but couldn’t figure out how to, thanks for the help!

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      While your web page is an important tool I find your list for preparing for an emergency and what to buy is certainly not going to help the lower incomes and people who live near poverty.

      I would imagine that if best they might be able to buy maybe 1 or 2 items once a month not withstanding they might not have the ability to understand the importance and processs of keeping safe .

      Let’s be real  can you make another a plan for people on a beer bottle budget ?

      • 4

        We do our best to accommodate a wide range of budgets. eg. we try to identify a “budget pick” in many of our product reviews, and we spend extra time building lists in a way so that people with limited budgets understand what the few most important things are to focus on.

        We also plan on launching a dedicated page for people with tight budgets.

        Prepping can be cheap in the sense that you can do a lot with just a few cans of water and food. That said, going deeper into prepping does cost money — that’s just the nature of it. People spend thousands of dollars a year on health insurance, and in many cases never even hit their deductible / get to “use” the insurance. Prepping is insurance for everything else.

      • 4

        What’s wrong with 1 or 2 items a month? That’s how many people do it, myself included. I’d guess that very few of the people using this site are making one big trip to Cabela’s and calling it “done”.

        I wish I had a resource like The Prepared when I started my 1 or 2 items per month years ago because I would have made better decisions about what i was prioritizing, which products within a category were overpriced, and most importantly that knowledge and skills are even more important than buying stuff.

    • 2

      Wow.  I could hardly finish the article in this mornings NY Times about sane prepping (that turned me on to this site).  I’m getting started.

      First question.  Does stored water have a shelf life?  I didn’t see anything about that above.

      Thanks for your help.

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        From what I have gathered, factory bottled water that is kept in good condition will last indefinitely. That being said, if space is an issue you may want to still rotate your stock.

        I think water bottled/stored at home would be more prone to going bad but I’m not sure. Store bought water is so inexpensive and (I would hope) is bottled under much better conditions than I have.

        And welcome!

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        Question answered.  Thank you.

    • 2

      Most importantly, your website is amazing. I’m new to it, so still examining, and am happy to say I have many mistakes in my planning to fix. Any critiques I have are second order.

      Does it make sense to denote what items listed are / aren’t TSA compatible? You mention the many reasons need to ‘go’… certain emergencies involve air travel. Knives, lithium batteries, etc., certainly don’t pass, but the size of liquids / creams need to be TSA compatible as well.

      Just a thought.

      • 0

        Thanks so much Steve. We do plan on making a dedicated page just for travelers, which will focus on TSA stuff a bit. I don’t know that it’d be practical for us to denote every product as TSA or non-TSA across the board though, since it’s more about general guidelines of batteries, bladed tools, liquids, etc, but we’ll do our best.

      • 1

        Indeed, not every product, it just needs to be given a thought as one constructs a go bag. For example, my most used knife is a 1″ Spyderco on my keychain… not TSA compatible…

    • 3

      I was so excited to read the NY Times article about your website I came straight over! I’ve been prepping since I was 5 years old. I’m a born and raised Army Brat and my primary duty was to check, update and refresh the C-rations and evac kit. Granted, my Dad did most of the work when I was little and I just helped, then later just I followed his list and reported back.

      My first adult BOB was just stuff gathered from around the house and put in one bag. As I started to make more money, my second was loosely based on The Red Cross Earthquake Kit and a few others. Starting with the most important, I buy one item each month on the anniversary of the Northridge earthquake. I’ll be improving and refining my family’s bags based on your lists!

      It’s a slow process, but it’ll eventually get done, gives me time to carefully consider each item and I always think of my Dad and wish I could report back.

    • 2

      In my excitement I forgot to ask my question. Does our 50 gallon strapped water heater count as another home water source? I had a brass nozzle installed for easy on/off just in case.

      • 2

        Welcome, thanks for the excitement! I was actually just looking at pictures of C-Rations today as we’re about to publish a guide to MREs.

        Yes, a water heater is a viable source of water. We discuss it more here https://theprepared.com/homestead/reviews/best-two-week-emergency-water-storage-containers/ but the short answer is: don’t depend on it (treat it as a bonus) and be sure you actually know how to get access to that water. Many people think “oh I’ll just use what’s in the water heater” yet they have no idea how to, don’t have the tools to, etc.

      • 3

        Side note.  I once tried to drain a water heater to flush it and sediment in the water had clogged the valve at the bottom.  It was a messy proposition getting it emptied.  I wen to a tankless heater after that.  Would be a good idea to empty yours every once in a while to flush it out.

      • 2

        Water heater mineral deposits! We have such hard water that our water heater starts making a banging noise when there’s lots of build-up. Our plumber installed a brass faucet, taught me how to turn off our water heater, connect an old hose and drain it down the driveway every 2-3 years (tried to recycle the water, but the hot water burns the lawn and plants). When we last needed to replace our water heater I considered a tankless but discovered I would have to descale+clean the filter every 2 years anyway. Plus would lose my 50 gallon back-up water to boot. I keep a small metal kitchen strainer in a ziplock bag inside the water heater closet to strain the deposit if we ever need the water.

    • 2

      Hey!  Been following you all, here and on Facebook, for three years now.  Like many here, had an interest in being prepared but was overwhelmed by the info.  I’m not sure how I even stumbled on this site, but now this is basically my prepping bible.  Anyway, here’s a request – Much as you’ve done a comprehensive review on BOB’s and their contents, even making a kit list (both are fantatstic, btw), I was hoping you would do the same for GHB’s as well.  Yes, they are 80-90% the same stuff.  It’s that remaining 10-20% I want to know about.  Actually, I’m posting this on this article’s comments page, because there was an earlier version of this post that had a pretty good list of GHB gear, some of which was definitely different than the BOB list.  I subscribe to the theory of having a fully stocked bag in each vehicle, as my wife and I both travel some distance to/from work.  Also, we live in northern Wisconsin, so a seasonal section to a GHB post wouldn’t hurt.  If anyone could put one together, it would be well used.  Regardless, huge fan of your work, keep up the great effort and posts!

      • 1

        Thanks for the feedback Nick! We do plan on making a GHB-specific guide, particularly about that 10-20% delta. Have been overwhelmed with all the stuff to do (especially with COVID), but that post will happen + we just launched our forum and kit builder tool in the meantime to help people contribute more to these guides and talk about their gear without us being a bottleneck. Check them out!

    • 1

      What size tarp do you suggest for the at-home cheap tarp?

    • 2

      One thing I’ve yet to see listed in any bug out bag list is an extra pair of prescription eyewear and an emergency supply of prescription medication.  Just pack the prescriptions properly,  so they are protected from hot and cold temperatures.  And write down their expiration dates.