What’s the first thing that you think of when you hear the word preppers? When I first hear the word I thought “Preppers? For what?! There are really people out there that have built bunkers in their back yards and go crazy all out for some disaster that might not ever happen and even if it does they don’t know if it will be any time soon? These people are crazy and super paranoid!”
As I started to do my own research and looking into it I thought “Maybe these people aren’t as crazy as I thought! Maybe they aren’t super paranoid! However, this is still a little weird that people are calling themselves preppers!” BUT!! As I dug a little deeper I realized there is so much to this prepping thing that I am already doing regularly! Not quite to the extent as some, or what you might be thinking, but I am doing these things in my normal life! Maybe they aren’t so crazy, weird, paranoid or nuts and no they sure aren’t going to die first! You too are probably already doing some of these things, maybe to a smaller extent, just like I was, than these “crazy preppers” do without even realizing it! It’s probably not as extreme as you think it is!
Although, there are many benefits to prepping some may wonder is being a prepper worth it? see an unbiased perspective.
7 Practical Reasons Preppers Might Not Be As Crazy As You Think!
Here are seven practical things that I’ve found to be super easy to do and you are already taking the first steps to becoming a prepper. Most of them I bet you are already doing.
- Food Storage
- First Aid Kits
- Storing Gas
- 72 Hour Kits
- Water Storage
- Baking/Cooking From Scratch
How often when you go to the grocery store do you go to the canned goods aisle and when you are picking up something like cream of chicken soup, or chicken broth or beans do you grab just one can? I bet its almost never! If there’s something that I go to the store for that has a shelf life that’s longer than a week or two I always grab multiple. Always! It is always super nice having things on hand, that have a long shelf life, and that you use regularly so you are not going back and forth to the store all the time to get something simple like canned corn, rice or flour. You can do this as little or as much as you want. If you keep a few extras of each of these types of things that’s great!
You can take this a step further and have a storage room with a significant amount of back stock of just about everything that you use that has a long shelf life. If you keep consistently rotating these types of things there is no waste. It is really important to make sure you are filling your food storage with things you will eat. If you won’t eat it now there will be no rotation and you will end up throwing away a lot of expired food. Be smart about what you are buying and pick those things your family eats so you can rotate them through and have a lasting supply without a bunch of things expiring. Just because it has a long shelf life doesn’t mean you need it in your storage. Sorry SPAM! You won’t be making your way into my storage room!
One of my favorite parts about having food storage is that we basically have a mini store that I can go pick from when I need to without having to go to the store and it’s all things that I know my family will eat. I can pull something off the shelf and add a few things and make a meal that we will all eat.
Follow this link to check out our complete and easy to use Food Storage Calculator. All you have to do is input the number of people in your family and the number of months you want to plan for and the calculator does the rest!
First Aid Kits
Do you have a first aid kit at your house? Big or small I bet just about everyone has at least the basics of a first aid kit somewhere in their house. Band-Aids, Neosporin, Tylenol, and Ibuprofen. If not I would highly recommend getting some sort of first aid kit in your house.
Have you considered making your own? If you prefer specific brands or know your family has specific allergies like an allergy to latex you might want to look into getting a container and putting together your own that is specifically fit to the needs of your family.
If you go on outings that can have a specific risk factor like breaking a bone or bugs that can cause reactions you’ll want to make sure that you add a sling in the appropriate size or portable ice packs for swelling and cream or whatever is needed to treat the specific bite.
You can find a first aid kit and almost everything you’ll need to put together your own kit in the pharmacy isles of your local grocery store. We like to keep our first aid kid under our kitchen sink and we use it regularly when one of us or our kids needs a Band-Aid or cream for a mosquito bite. It is in a common easy to get area. Using it regularly also helps to ensure that we are checking it often and things like medicine and creams don’t expire or a moms worst nightmare, explode all over everything.
Do you have a small gas can in your garage or shed for your lawnmower? We do. We like to keep a small two-gallon gas can around for the simple fact we need it for our lawnmower. With a bigger can we can use that for the mower as well or if we are low on gas and don’t have time to run to the gas station to fill up but we know we won’t make it to our destination without a little extra gas. Let’s face it we have all been there. We get busy and don’t notice or forgot the gas light came on yesterday and we woke up late and don’t have time to stop at the gas station before work. Think about how happy you will be when you have that 5-gallon gas tank sitting in your garage!
It is best to store gas in a gas can no longer than 3-6 months depending on the octane levels. The lower the level the closer to 6 months you can get. High octane should be store for no more than 3 months. Diesel fuel can be stored for 6 months to a year. If you are getting close to that time frame, pour what’s left into your car and then refill the can the next time you go to the gas station. If the gas stations ever run out of gas you will have at least the start of a supply.
Every city has a different limit and safety restrictions on how gas is and how much can be stored on your property at a time. Check with your city to see what the limit is before you start to stock up to see if you will need a permit.
72 Hour Kits
This one might not be as common but if you take literally a half an hour max you can have 72 hour kits for your entire family. Do you have a “Go Bag”? Or as we like to call it a 72 hour kit for you and each of your family members? This is a short term emergency bag that has enough simple clothes and food for one person in it for 3 days. A pair of pants, a couple of shirts, a pair or two of underwear and at least a sweatshirt. A blanket of some sort would be fantastic to have in the bottom too. Especially if you have a child that is attached to a blanket. See if you can get an identical one.
This obviously requires more work if you have kids because they grow and you have to rotate their clothes more often. You’ll need to rotate clothes in their bag as you rotate the clothes in their drawers. These don’t need to be the nicest clothes. Trust me if you need this bag you will be happy to have anything. If it is just t-shirts and a pair of pants that aren’t your favorite but still fit that will be good enough. You will be so glad you were prepared.
72-hour kits also have enough food for each person for 3 days. Bottles of water, canned good, peanut butter. Baby food if you have a baby, or formula pouches for 3 days. A binky if needed, diapers and wipes, which will also need to be rotated. As the parents I would put a can opener to open the cans we have packed and extra water, some plastic wear or old silver wear and maybe bar/dish soap of some sort and something to cook the food in our bags. There are so many options for small propane stoves and small pots so you can cook whatever it is that you have put in your bags. A small first aid kit would also be a really good idea to put in your bag.
Keep the kids bags a smaller size and weight so they can carry them. When picking food make sure that it is something that you know your kids will eat. But at the same time, after a day or two they will probably eat anything.
I know this can be something hard or scary to even think about, but being prepared can give you so much peace and again you will be so relieved you and your children are prepared in this way if something were to happen that was short term. Check these bags every so often and make sure nothing has expired and that the clothes still fit. We store them in closets so they aren’t getting damaged or wet and are easy to find and grab if we need them.
Check out our article 48 Item Car Emergency Kit Checklist & PDFs for ALL Scenarios here!
Do you plant a garden every year? This isn’t an option for everyone depending on where you live but if you do plant a garden, you not only have delicious fresh fruits and veggies every year, but you are learning the amazing skill of being able to grow your own food.
I am almost positive if you have a garden that you have had to figure out how to store some of that food. It always seems that everything comes on at the same time and you can’t eat everything at the same time so I am sure you have either learned or know how to can or prep the food to be frozen or stored. This might seem like something simple and it is! This can also go along with food storage. As well as being prepared with the ability to be able to grow your own food if needed.
Of course, this type of food won’t last near as long as canned goods. Unless of course you can what can be canned. It needs to be kept frozen or cool or the shelf life can literally be days. But this is a great skill to learn to not only help you be prepared but it can also have the potential to save you money which is a huge win in my book! If you choose to build a greenhouse then you can have a garden almost all year round.
When you purchase a case of water you know you aren’t going home to drink every bottle that day right? You buy a case to store the water to use over time. Just as preppers do! I don’t know about you but when I buy a case of water I rarely buy just one.
It is important to always keep bottles of water (or whichever method of storing water you choose) on hand for many different reasons. If the tap water goes bad and you can’t drink it. If you need to go somewhere and need to take water because the water there is unsafe to drink or there will be no other options for water. You can usually boil the water and make it safe for drinking, but that’s not always the case, and you might not have the means to boil water.
If you want to take it a step or two further and you have the room you can buy gallons of water to store. You can repurpose 2-liter soda bottles to store water. Remember plastic holds in flavor so the water you put in those bottles may take on a slight flavor of the soda. Do not use milk jugs. They are made to be biodegradable and will deteriorate over time.
I remember as a kid helping my dad fill our 55-gallon barrel with water. To store a lot of water long term you need a clean, UV-resistant container with a screw-on lid. Fill the container and add 1/8 tsp. of bleach for every gallon. For a 55-gallon barrel of water that is 2 Tbs. and 1 tsp. of bleach. Store the water in a cool dark place. Water doesn’t technically expire but it should be changed out periodically to avoid it tasting stale. One 55 gallon barrel will supply two people with water for about 2 weeks.
Follow this link to check out our easy and automatic Water Storage Calculator. This simple tool will help you determine how much water you need to store for your family. You choose the number of people and how long you want to plan for and let the calculator do the rest!
Baking/Cooking From Scratch
Do you cook your meals all from a box or do you have recipes that you follow? Being able to make more than mac and cheese from the box will be beneficial if you ever don’t have access to a store and need to use food storage. It will help give you practice with different flavors and know better what kinds of things go together and flavors that you can mix. You also won’t feel so lost with no experience in the cooking department. If you know how to follow a recipe and know how you can tweak it to make it what you want without ruining it you will be better off when you don’t have an endless supply of options.
Taking It A Step Further With A Few More Things To Think About.
If you want to take it a step further here is a list of things that can help you take your preparedness to the next level. There are also some easy things to think about and look into that every house/home should have.
Do you have a carbon monoxide detector in your house? How about a fire extinguisher in your kitchen? How good is your home insurance policy? Does it cover everything you feel like it needs to, or do you need to look for a new policy? If you are renting do you have renters insurance? Do you have a backup generator that can power your house? Do you have shelves or space for food storage? Are solar panels an option? How prepared are you if you were to get stranded in your car? What does your savings account look like? Is there room in your budget to set aside some money each month to help you get going on these things?
These are all great things to think about when you think about how crazy or paranoid preppers are. The best part about prepping is that you can be as prepared as you feel comfortable with or as much as you have room for. You can think that preppers are crazy and still do a little bit here and there in your own life to be prepared for unexpected events. I think the best part about this is there really isn’t a wrong way to do this. What works best for your family and your situation is the right way to do it for you. Start with something small and eventually you will be the neighborhood house everyone wishes they could be at when there’s an emergency!
We never know when disaster will strike. It could be a flood or a hurricane in an area that had a good amount of ports that a lot of the goods for our country come into. Remember, just because you don’t live right next to those places that were hit with these disasters doesn’t mean it won’t affect you down the line. It could be a massive earthquake. Maybe something happens with the government and the exchange of goods or oil could change and our shipments of gas and food could be jeopardized till who knows when.
Being prepared never hurt! You never know when you kid is going to have a blowout diaper, but you always have extra diapers, wipes, and clothes for them in the diaper bag, and when you don’t it is super frustrating and can ruin plans or end up costing you extra money to fix the problem. Don’t let this be like that!