Like mom always bellowed at us kids growing up: “There’s no time like the present to get things done”.
The best way to begin prepping is to just begin.
Any one of us can realize that after a calamity happens is not the best time, “for getting your act together”.
So I decided to lay out just a few thoughts for you. These are only the minimal considerations that anyone trying to prepare for the next calamity might want to consider.
Anyone of us should be thinking of these ideas as a priority for our prepping plan. These are choices that one can and should practice right now. That is to say, this article is about doing right now what needs to be done, and not just planning for the future.
These are those choices you will need to consider to successfully prepare for a bug out or hunker down scenario. In addition to the items to gather and the decisions you need to make after a collapse, these are the things you practice before you need them.
I’m talking about critical thinking ahead of time, with ideas and planning before a collapse occurs. Advanced planning is a necessary component to you and to your family’s survival.
There are practical ways of going about it. Sure, having a plan is one thing, but first hand knowledge and experience win out nearly ever time over merely planning.
These ideas are simple. They are mostly common sense. The key is to put them to use in your life TODAY, not later. If your bug out bag is ready and you have the perfect getaway plan in place, with all your items in your bag, you believe you are ready to go.
It’s important to be truly prepared mentally as well as practically. The first item for this long-term survival plan is the plan itself, obviously. However, something more is needed, you need to practice what you preach. For instance, are your experiences in these essential skills up to par?
If you haven’t actually practiced your bugout plan in a real world situation, you need to DO IT right now, before it’s an emergency. Once the emergency occurs, it’s too late to practice your skills and you’re inexperience could just get you killed.
The true question is, how do you start to implement these plans into your life today, without taking up personal time, and before it is too late?
Any goal must begin with a plan. If you fail to plan, you are just dreaming, because the “Fire, Ready, Aim” method of attaining objectives is bullcrap. While the nuts and bolts of prepping can be as complex as you want, the overall plan is simple and consists of only ten easy to understand steps.
There is no need to overcomplicate anything even when you are facing some pretty momentous events. In fact, simpler is often better since no plan will endure an evolving situation without you having to edit it on the fly. We’ll get into that in a bit.
Without any more delay, let’s move on to the steps!
10 Easy Steps to Getting Prepared!
1. Identify the Threats
It is hard to react to anything if you don’t know the nature of the threat. The first step to creating your ideal prepping plan is to identify what the threats are.
This could be anything: is it prolonged bad weather or some other natural event like a drought or famine?
Is it a natural disaster like a tornado, blizzard, flood or something else? Are you worried about man-made disasters like industrial accidents, terrorism or partisan violence?
What is the nature of the anticipated problem? Answer that question and the rest of these steps will fairly well take care of themselves.
2. Identify the Hazards
Once you have identified the overall nature of the threat you are going to prepare against, it is time to dig deeper in order to properly understand the risk factors associated with it.
Bad weather events each feature their own problems and potentially second-order effects like the collapse of communications and transportation networks. Dealing with an extreme wind event like a tornado is different from trying to survive the long deep-freeze of a blizzard.
Man-made disasters like industrial accidents can make the very air or water in your area dangerous or in the form of terrorism or other physical violence can mean you need to brush up on avoidance and self-defense procedures in order to survive.
You have identified the problem, now you need to understand all the ways that it can actually hurt you. These hazards will inform much of your prepping.
3. Identify your own Vulnerabilities
Just as important as figuring out what can hurt you and how is figuring out where you are weak and vulnerable to harm. This will inform a certain part of your preps as a way to cover up your weak spots.
For instance, if you are worried about flooding and your house is situated in a low-lying area that regularly sees major accumulation of water even during normal rainfall amounts, you had better believe it is going to get positively biblical when the “big one” comes.
If you live in a mobile home in the middle of Tornado Alley that would be a similar vulnerability that you would have to account for. If you are physically slow, weak, or frail you are disproportionately likely to be victimized if targeted for violence.
Discovering your own vulnerabilities is no reason to get upset, give up or start panicking; everybody has them and shoring up these points of vulnerability is just another part of prepping!
4. Determine Initial Response to Event
No matter what you are preparing for you must have a go-to response in place that you will execute when the situation dictates. Dealing with an emergent disaster or any other crisis is not the time for “I’ll figure it out”!
Figure it out now so you don’t have to sit and spin later. Following the example given above, you should know what kind of rainfall event will mean you need to get out and away from your low-lying house while the getting is good.
If you live in a tornado-prone area, any tornado watch or warning should see you heading towards the best available shelter.
If you live in an urban area or one that is just politically tumultuous you’ll have to be ready to respond at all times against violence by either running or fighting. For any disaster: Will you stay (bug-in) or evacuate (bug-out)?
Remember, more detail is not better. You need basic, easy to remember plans so that when your brain is confronted with an emergency situation it has a simple playbook to draw from. speed matters, and complicated, intricate plans will only slow things down. Keep it simple!
5. Select Bug-Out Locations (BOLs)
Running away, or bugging out, is most often the best possible solution when dealing with a life-threatening situation. Something has to be able to reach you and affect you in order to harm you.
But if you have any say in the matter you don’t want to just head off in some random direction with the hope you will find greener, safer pastures. No, any place you plan to evacuate to should be pre-selected for its specific qualities, be it physical safety, additional support, or just a friendly harbor in the middle of a storm.
If you omit to put in your due diligence when it comes to selecting bug-out locations (and you should select more than one or two, by the way!) you could be leaping out of the frying pan and into the fire when disaster strikes.
Also keep in mind that your bug-out locations might be event specific: a bug-out location that works for you in times of riots or mass civil unrest could be less than useless in the event of a flood or some other natural disaster.
6. Assemble Your 3-Day Survival Cache
The crux of your material preps will be your three-day survival cache.
An awful lot of smart people have conducted a great many studies and determined that the vast majority of Americans will be prepared for most disasters and other emergencies that befall them if only they have 3 days worth of essential supplies accessible in their home or at any other location they’re staying at.
This consists of things you are likely already thinking of, necessities like food, water, medicine, basic tools and flashlights, spare batteries, an emergency radio and things like that.
In essence, you’re trying to be completely materially independent for just three days with the supplies that you have on hand. We have many articles on the subject on this very website and you can find dozens upon dozens all around the web.
If it seems like your three-day cache is puny or inadequate for dealing with some lengthy mega-disaster, don’t worry about it; the longest journey begins with a single step and this simple three-day survival supply will form the nucleus of your greater prepping efforts when it comes to supplies and provisions.
7. Acquire Necessary Special Purpose Gear
Certain survival strategies will necessitate special-purpose gear in order to execute. For instance, if you live in an area that is prone to experiencing strong storms and tornadoes it is best if your home is equipped with a basement.
Lacking a basement, you might want to look into installing a purpose made storm shelter module on your property. Another special purpose prep might be an off-road vehicle if you live in the mountains, or a chainsaw and plenty of fuel if you live in an area with poor roads that are prone to being blocked by downed trees.
Another special purpose prep might be something like a gas mask with filters along with a full chemical suit if you live near an industrial complex or refinery that processes dangerous chemicals.
Basically these are “x-factor” preps, things that your average prepper might not need, but they are relevant to you because of your specific vulnerability or a special threat that you have identified. Anything that goes beyond basic necessities and essentials can fit into this category.
8. Skill Up!
A common trap many burgeoning preppers fall into is focusing on accumulating supplies and gear at the expense of new skills.
This is a distinctly human failing, but Americans in particular seem to have a gadgetry fetish thinking that they can replace a lack of experience or education with the latest technological marvel that will make all of their problems go away.
Don’t fall into this way of thinking! It is skills that will pay the bills; the gear and supplies just help you out. You should be learning how to build, repair, navigate, start fires, defend yourself and much more.
The skills that are most important to you are contextual based on where you live, who you are and what you are dealing with, but the one skill set that will always pay off is first-aid and basic trauma care, so begin there.
Don’t let yourself become a well-equipped and well-armed prepper who genuinely has no idea what they are doing. Make sure you put as much effort into improving yourself as you do acquiring the right stuff!
9. Practice Until You Cannot Get it Wrong
Don’t wait for that fateful day to put all your planning and preparation into motion! You need to be practicing what you have learned and planned so you don’t make critical mistakes when time is short and lives are on the line.
This practice can take the form of executing a family fire drills, loading of a vehicle prior to a bug out or just sharpening your own personal skill sets, be they bushcraft skills, self-defense skills, or something else. You need to keep your edge sharp so you have the reflexes and the expertise to deal with what comes.
Practicing your various plans in response to various disasters and emergencies along with your personal skills is an ongoing event, not an annual one and you should be refining and honing what you know on a weekly basis.
10. Grow Your Stash
Once you have your core skill sets and your basic 3-day survival stash in place, it is time to start expanding. Having a three-day stash is good, having a week-long stash is better.
Your week-long stash of food, water and other supplies will probably be cold comfort if you are facing an event that lasts a month or more, so that should be your next milestone, and so on and so forth.
You should always be adding things to your survival stash one or two at a time. It doesn’t have to be major purchases, but it should always be expanding.
Your stash of food, water, medicine and other necessities you and your family needs is a hedge against lack and loss during any disaster, so you should contribute to it just like you contribute to your piggy bank at home!
Ultimately, prepping is not a destination, it is a journey and successfully navigating any journey requires a steady and consistent application of effort; your survival stash is no different!
Understanding the Essentials
I have to admit the term “prepping” may be a misnomer, nowadays. The idea has grown into something much more mainstream and larger in every way then what it use to be.
Initially, the term referred to an individual who was preparing for some form of apocalypse. More and more these days the idea of collapse in some form or another seems to be much more mainstream.
Some might say the collapse is already here. So what are you waiting for? The idea of surviving a collapse has created a new wave of ideas on how we should be living our lives now. We may even be preventing a total collapse, by getting our minds wrapped around these new ways of living NOW.
We must change our mindset from the current paradigm. The “American Dream” of having a two-child nuclear family and living in a tiny suburban house surrounded by a manicured lawn with an idyllic white picket fence is fading.
The dream that includes the newest gas guzzling SUV parked in the paved driveway, a pool in the backyard, and a garage full of “toys”. All this happiness is an illusion. The reality is that dear old dad works his 9 to 5 factory job, trying to save for that seaside condominium.
He’s being taxed into extinction by a bankrupt government, trying to secretly steal his wealth out from under his very nose before he realizes his illusion of heavenly bliss, is dying.
Let’s face it, kids, the world as we know it is disappearing fast. Our pensions are also being stolen as you read this.
Most of the society these days have begun to envision a more harmonious lifestyle for themselves. Just getting away “from it all” before this inhumanity to man kills us all. We are all looking for a better way of life NOW, TODAY.
A life that is more in tune with what is coming. We want to achieve this life before that inevitable calamity to end all calamities, arrives. I know that this does not, sound very optimistic, but its far better to be prepared for the worst then to be ill prepared, am I right? I also think that it is time to stop pretending these things are not happening.
The idea of prepping has become such mainstream way of thinking that it has even been popularized by mainstream media. However, certainly they have different motives in mind then you do.
Their idea is turning those TV personalities into some sorry form of contestants for your viewing pleasure and for the public to gawk at. I am sorry, but, is this not, how we got here in the first place, because of some ridiculous mindset of man against the world.
The idea of a simple garden is now shown like some bizarre off the grid lifestyle. Regular farmers are depicted as just another “off the grid prepper”. They twist normal family farming values and lifestyles into something to be criticized like on a game show.
How about how they tease the avid camper or back packer with new space age gear fooling them into becoming a survivalist, instead of just someone who enjoys the outdoors.
Creating for ourselves the right gear that we need for the task. Whether it’s building our own solar power systems or creating home-made water filtration systems, we can do it.
We can learn to use hydroponics and maybe even design and build some alternative shelters, like a yurt or log cabin, that we want for ourselves.
Perhaps we can learn how to build survival shelters in the direst of situations, and given the many choices of these designs, there is no limit but our own imaginations.
The aim of this article is to prod the lackadaisical preppers out there into getting ready now. Perhaps also to goad others into picking up their prepping pace if need be.
This is a proverbial kick in the pants, so to speak. I have brought together just a few thoughts around this theme, and I have simply gathered what I consider as essential notions and critical ways of thinking about the task.
I suggest we all begin by thinking ahead. We need to critically analyze things we need for a bug out scenario. Build these items NOW or purchase what you need TODAY, while we can still afford it.
Now is when you have the money and the time to buy or build and create these items. It makes no difference if you cannot get around to creating these items just yet do not worry. Building the ultimate bug out vehicle takes time.
Let’s not forget: if you are one of the lucky ones, you still have a job to go to. You still need to feed your family and this will take precedence over prepping, I’m sure. That is part of the solution though, get your family involved and share this with them. Even if there is some assembly required, they could do it while you are at work. You can work and plan and they can train and build. You can always buy the material and build these items later if you do not have a family to help you. Alternatively, if you are a loner you can try these ideas out on the weekends. Believe me, I understand being too busy at work, but why not spend the money NOW, and get the materials you need today while you can?
The economy is teetering and most likely, it will be the first trigger to any collapse. A depression can show up in many ways, like deflation (lack of demand) or, worse, INFLATION (printing of fiat currency). This dilutes the value of your money. This means your money isn’t going to be worth all that much as time goes by. Things are going to cost you more in the future. You will have less buying power using that dwindling paycheck of yours. So putting money into things that are going to hold their value during a collapse isn’t just good business sense, it may be essential to your survival. Just DO IT NOW!
I am not just speaking about buying freeze-dried food supplies or that lifetime supply of bottled water that you purchased off eBay. What I am talking about right now is building, or buying, your own backcountry water filtration system.
Perhaps designing a portable filter system you make yourself, a system suitable for emergency use on the road. Or, at the very least, if you are a person with limited means, you should always know how to build such a simple system in an emergency. DO IT to see if it works
Simply knowing how to build something is one thing. It is a lot different than having to actually DO IT, and use it. Now, of course no one expects anyone of us to go out and build a log home for ourselves on some government land you snuck onto.
Understanding the concepts of building a log home is a good start, though. Having some downloaded or written material on the subject is not unreasonable. However, most people among us will agree that building a log home with an ax compared to a chainsaw is a lot more difficult.
So perhaps you learn to add some things to your survival kit, like buying a chainsaw, it’s as simple as that.
Maybe buy a used chainsaw, or get a broken one free from someone and use YouTube to learn how to repair it yourself.
Pick up an axe, a buck saw or crosscut saw as backup of course, because chainsaws do break down. Plus, fuel is probably going to be very hard to get your hands on during an economic collapse.
Do It Yourself or You’ll Do Without
So if your bug out plan is to build a log home, then buy what you need now, or collect the things you will need to build it right now.
An ax head, for instance, is easy to find at any old farm yard or yard sale. Learning how to make your own ax handle is a good learning experience and a very useful skill. You can easily take an old rusty ax and polish it like new with a sander.
Carve a handle from ash or hickory and it will look like new. Knowing what tree to use, what grain to select, and what style handle you like best is also something only learned through practice. Carving your own handle will show you a little about what it takes to live on your own and help you think about what tools you will need to acquire before you need them.
So, what’s stopping you? DO IT! In addition to an ax or two, you will also need other tools for building a log home such as a block and tackle, a rope, cables, and chains to do the lifting.
You will need:
- a draw knife for peeling
- an adze for barking
- a brace and bit
- a crosscut saw
- personal hand tools
- chisels and rounds
- files for sharpening
- scribes to mark and gauge the cuts
- a plumb bob
- chalk line
- and more
These are the everyday tools you might need in an emergency too. These tools can be purchased from yard sales or online as you find them, so buy them ahead of time just DO IT!
If your plan is living in a yurt then buy a yurt if you can afford one. There are plenty of people out there making them in all shapes and sizes.
Or learn how to build one for yourself because yes they are expensive, they’re labor intensive but not material intensive. So no, it is not a fantasy to think that you can build your own yurt. Not if you are at least a little bit handy.
Someone had to have built the one in the catalog you are wearing thin by flipping through its pages. So let’s give it a go. If they can do it, so can you. DO IT NOW! Build a yurt for yourself. You might find out it is a lot easier than you think.
If you are not fussy about the colors, you can afford some of those very large, insulated tarps to use for the yurt’s outside shell. These are readily available from industrial supply stores.
They can be sewn into an excellent water proof yurt, using a simple sewing machine capable of zigzag or double stitching, I recommend many parallel passes for more strength.
How much more prepared will you feel if you have a complete yurt and a large home made water filter system (that you made yourself)? And to that add a 30 day food supply, tools, and your gear bundled up and ready to go on some tiny trailer in your garage. So when things get dicey, and its time for you to bug out simply hook up and go.
Resupply and Provisioning Considerations
What if food is nowhere to be found after a month or so on the prowl? In most scenarios it runs out after your 30 day supply is gone and there is no more to be had anywhere.
Do you know how to dry your own vegetables, jerk meat, or can fruits and what not? Did you realize you are able to, “CAN” anything yourself that you find precanned on the grocery store shelf and it will not be full of additives like theirs.
Even things you won’t find on the store shelf, can be canned. Knowing how to can meat is a useful skill and preparing meals with canned stew sized chunks of meat is also useful.
However, if you have never done this before, how do you know? This might be frustrating to you, but you can learn! Can some meat for yourself, and then use it in a meal, simply buy a pressure cooker, and some mason jars, and get some experience, while you still are able to afford things.
May I suggest to many of you just to familiarize yourself with wild foods right now, before you need to do it for real. Having a general knowledge of edible wild plants and water sources in your area is always a good idea. Books are great but practical experience is invaluable.
Take a walk, find a plant bring it home and look at it, research it, look up how to prepare it if it is edible. Then try the tiniest of pieces first, and see if it agrees with you. If it tastes indigestible, do not give in to despair.
Many plants require large amounts of processing to make them edible. You will find that most survival literature will tell you which plants are edible but they won’t tell you about preparation.
I have even seen in some cases, an author often forgets to tell the reader that certain plants are only edible after processing it. So, by all means, be very careful with wild edibles that you read about online.
However, just imagine how proud you will feel after discovering how to process and turn these wild plants into meals. Imagine that, you foraging for wild edibles yourself!
I can definitely tell you this fact and I’m speaking from experience. You will rarely find enough food to survive in most parts of the world, without knowing first how to live in a certain natural way, using critical thinking. And above all else practicing the native way of life.
Your best bet is to look for old books from the pioneer days. Many have recipes and techniques used in travelling without refrigeration. The old pioneers would dry vegetables and then pack them in a press, making bricks out of the vegetables.
Then they would just drop them in the pot to cook in some water to expand them again. This is such a great way to preserve vegetables because it is lightweight and practical. Read, read, read, you’ll be amazed at what you find.
Nuts and berries, by the way, are seasonal foods for many creatures. This means you will not find them so easily as you find that pop-tart in the back of the cupboard.
Besides, you will have a lot more competition out there in the wild, then just those two or three hungry kids around your ankles.
For instance, the many wild birds, mice, squirrels, and bear you will have to compete with, especially if you live in the Northern regions.
Not to mention deer and other critters constantly nibbling away at your Garden of Eden you think is waiting out there for you. But consider this, all of these animals are potential food for you, too.
It’s strange but I have read many survival tips on camping and living in the bush. In them the survivalist teaches the students how to keep bears from their camp.
To a real woodsman, this is ridiculous. Why would you want to do that? Bear meat is quite delicious and if a bear is stupid enough to come to your camp, so be it.
Real hunters and trappers of old never worried about such fluff. They simply killed the bears and wolves or whatever ventured into their camp and ate them.
They were grateful for the chance to turn their fleshy friends into food for the table. They also never wasted anything either.
They used their hides for useful clothing or rugs or even to make and mend tents too. You will need to change your way of looking at things and change your view on living in the wild, if you want to survive in the real wilderness.
Perhaps a good first step for many beginners will be to get a rifle or shotgun for hunting and maybe a hunting license if you have not already. These are the lifestyle changes you will need to embrace if you chose to live in this way.
I also suggest you get together with an experienced hunter or trapper and learn from them the best ways of doing things. Again, you can Google anything nowadays. I am sure you can find some direction on this, too.
Most of the pieces you will need for a reliable and moderate solar generator system can be purchased for under $1,500.00 USD, if you design and build it yourself. The simplest system that one can build will run your laptops and most devices such as drawing under 1500 watts total.
This can be built by piecing together items off the Internet for less than $500 USD. Here are a few basic things you will need to put together for your own beginner solar panel system.
The Internet has made many of us experts on reciting fact and fiction in rhyme, but can we actually do what we say we can? How do you know if you have not tried?
Firstly, sure you have to read, read, and read some more. Get as much information as you can from reading about what ever you want. It’s FREE, so take advantage of that. The obvious items you need for any solar system are as follows:
1) The solar panels, of course. Your choices are 12 or 24 VDC. The higher the voltage, the easier it can push DC power along a long connection. You can adjust this voltage by series or parallel setup configurations.)
2) The charge controller must able to handle 12 or 24 VDC panels, or whatever voltage you decide to configure your system to).
3) The inverter is to change DC to AC current. (This converts your DC current into AC current to run your household items.) This should be big enough to power your daily needs. (You may need to compromise, here on a beginner system.)
4) The wiring (must be the heaviest gauge you can afford for future upgrades, and must be of braided wire. Bear in mind the heavier the better as DC doesn’t travel well along thin gauge wires)
5) The batteries are your critical storage device. The more the merrier, because this is your energy storage for night time use. (These must be deep cycle batteries to handle the large cycling, that is the charge and discharging that they will be put through on any system)
Now, your panels need to be powerful enough to fully charge the batteries during the daylight hours and even on those over cast days, yet they need to be powerful enough to run what ever you need them to run, and for how ever long you require it (like your laptop, lights, radio, etc.).
The inverter has to be able to handle the draw of what ever you are planning on running on it (add up the total power consumption of the devices that will be running on it at the same time, to arrive at this number).
Finally, the charge controller should be designed to charge the batteries without over-charging them and boiling away all of their precious electrolyte (Thus ruining your batteries or shortening their lifespan).
(I personally suggest a modern designed MPPT, (Maximum, Power Point Tracking) type charge controller, capable of stepping down any voltage from your panels be it 96 VDC all the way to 24 VDC and bringing it down to your 12 VDC system design, usually automatically. I use a Morningstar charge controller the Sun Saver MPPT). No, I do not work for these guys. But these controllers are very good. (By the way, if you do not know what VDC means. (VDC = Volts of Direct Current)
When designing a system, a person must often make compromises between what they can afford compared to what they want. A bird in the hand is always worth two in the bush, right?
For instance, if you cannot afford a MPPT controller, but can get a free charge controller from your buddy then that is the right way to go. Even if it’s only for now and not the best you can get, such as if it’s a simple voltage regulator, so be it. Even if you have to monitor the batteries for yourself during the day, because all you can afford is a regulator off of some old 1960’s Buick, that’s fine. Perhaps starting our cheap will allow you to buy better batteries for your system down the road. That’s for you to decide. Well, that’s probably the better way to go for most people anyway, isn’t it?
FREE is always better than wasting your money on new, fancy, MPPT controllers, you do what you have to, correct? The idea here is just get started even if that means you have to get by with what you can afford now. It is just the modern world that is still desperately trying to tell you, that YOU NEED THE BEST. This is corporatism and the death knell of a failing marketing scheme that is still ringing in your ears. The illusion was created by a dying regime, so move on. Forget those people. Be smart, critical thinking is the true language of people who are free.
The simplest idea can also be just to purchase a system online with all of these components already included for emergency power. Nevertheless, these portable units are usually small capacity, and limited in how well they can be expanded if at all. They are also limited in what they can handle as a load (Power consumption). Any system can be purchased online, complete and ready to go mind you.
However, a person who knows how to assemble a system and he or her can build it themselves is a significantly better prepared individual. Perhaps you may try building a simple single (90 watt) panel system for yourself (estimated cost $120 USD per panel). Add to this a single deep cycle marine 12 vdc battery (estimated cost $120 USD). Then a decent charge controller (estimated cost $150 USD and an inverter estimated cost: $100 USD. As for the wiring, you’ll need to purchase that from an industrial supply house (10 or 8 gauge braided or purchase a 50 amp extension cord for $2.00 USD a foot or so) or look for the 50 amp extension cord at an RV supplier, and cut it up.
If you shop around, you might even find these items are cheaper than what I have posted. Now you are ready. So install it on your camper or your RV, and use it. Alternatively, put it together and hook it up to your house through the window for playing with on your desk, or for running your computer or your lights at home or while camping. The point here is, you are that much closer to being ready for that coming collapse. I guarantee once you begin down this rabbit hole of knowledge and start to get PREPARED, you won’t want to stop.
For instance, the simple solar system I described can be used in your home by converting some of the lighting systems in your house into LED. The price keeps coming down all the time on these items. The best thing about this idea is bearing in mind that later on you can expand upon it. Such as, you might add more batteries to the system or another solar panel.
Purchasing each thing as you can afford it is the right way to go. The only thing that may need upgrading in the future is the charge inverter. It needs to handle whatever load is your end goal. You can design a system that eventually will run your entire house with what you have right now as a load. That is free electricity for life.
Bear in mind that to add more batteries to your system, they should be comparable in capacity and age. Poor quality batteries (or run down old ones) can drag down the rest of the batteries down to their same level. Think of them as water tanks, each connected to the other by a hose located at the bottom of the tank. The water or in this case the capacity of the batteries will seek the level of the entire system, reducing the life span of the newer more robust batteries.
So research before you begin your expansion. Try and keep to the same size and models of panels as well as the batteries. This will create a much more reliable system in the long run. Starting out small with a single panel system is ideal for teaching yourself about this exciting potential of using solar. It gives you the confidence to grow it larger as you can afford it. You will soon realize that the media out there has been trying to discourage solar usage at home. The fella’s that design them for a living are not very helpful.
My beginner’s system that I personally built and use on my RV has two panels with a peak output of 288 watts, just two 12 VDC deep cycle marine batteries (though I wish I had many more). It also has a 1600-watt inverter and an MPPT Controller. That steps down my 24 VDC panels to 12 VDC systems. This cost me less than a $1000 USD to build, and it works great all night long. I also have a portable wind turbine on a telescopic pole, which is capable of generating 500 watts peak power. It is integrated into the same charge controller as my solar panels.
In short, I bet once you get started you will discover that even if that apocalyptic scenario never comes, who cares. With your knowledge and the system you built, you will be able to scratch one more bill off your cost of living expenses by eliminating that monthly utility bill from your life and never going back.
So, get rid of that electric bill. Reduce the system load and buy an electric fridge that runs on 12 VDC or get a solar powered fridge designed for solar generator systems. They do make them you know. In the very least get a gas fridge and freezer. Convert your entire house or camper so it utilizes LED lighting, as this is the best way to reduce the load on your solar power system. Reducing the power load you need directly impacts how large you need to build the solar system. A smaller power load needs a smaller power system and thus saves you money. You will soon discover that designing and living off the grid is not only a way of surviving the coming economic collapse but it is in fact, a better way of living in the first place.
Get rid of your bills for good. As many of them as you possibly can. This is the best way to survive the coming collapse.
For it is coming, of that I have no doubt. If you prepare, you will be already living this off-grid, so you will not even notice when it arrives. I mean how bad is it going to be for you, if you have already eliminated most of the worries about your monthly living?
Off-grid Water Supply
The next step, is water filtration. Nowadays it is always a good idea, especially if you live in the city, to filter your water. Anyway, even just to get rid of the additives, and the chemicals they love to poison us with nowadays.
Nevertheless, if you are traveling around this great country, water filtration is necessary, and having this on your survival planning list is a priority.
Sure, it’s fine if you have a cabin in the woods and you do not need to filter your water for now. However many of us do not have that option. For those of us, myself included, who will be mobile and on the move after the collapse, it’s necessary. So I suggest at the very least a portable filter system that you can drop into any source of water be it a river, a stream, lake, or puddle if nothing else. Therefore, you may want to design a portable backpacking system or buy one if you can afford to before the collapse. Perhaps you need more than a hand pumping system, like I have designed for my RV.
My system on my RV is designed around a 1/10th HP electric sump pump; it’s small on purpose, as I can actually run it off my solar system if need be. It uses a ceramic water filter system like on a home water supply. It was built from a household water filtering system and will remove all pathogens, cyst, chemicals and silt, etc., from the water.
I simply run a hose with an extension cord right down to the water source. I then sink a bucket with several holes drilled into it in the water. I used a rock in the bucket to weight it so it sinks. The holes in the bucket act like a sort of rough filter. They keep the large objects out of the bucket and away from the intake. I place my sump into the bucket, to be below the water line, and then use a gas generator or my solar power setup to get it going.
I start the pump. The electric sump motor pushes the water through the ceramic filtration system I have installed inline, and moves the filtered water all the way up to my RV and into my holding tanks. I use just a 50-foot garden hose to do this, but can add others if the source is further away. I have no need to go to town to fill up my tanks when in I’m in the back country. Besides who wants town water with all those chlorine and fluoride infused chemicals in it anyway. So, I am the proverbial Happy Camper especially when back in the bush where I prefer to be. I have clean filtered honest wholesome water with no need to waste fuel heading to town to get it, AND I’M READY FOR THE COLLAPSE.
This is what I mean by integrating your plan into your life today. Now not every situation will be like mine. So, again design and build your own filter system and solar system. For instance for a simple gravity system of filtering water use a gravity layer system of material it will do just as good a job as any other. If you are a person living in one spot, by all means this will work great. However, for the mobile nomads among us, something along the lines of what I described already is ideal and practical as you can build it for less than $150 USD as long as you have a generator or solar panels to power it.
(I must mention that in the event of not being able to get close enough with a gas generator or solar power you should have a 12VDC pump that can run off a car battery, in a pinch.)
Next, I would like to talk about shelters. As you probably surmised by now, I have an RV. I have it because I knew my job was going to be taken from me because of downsizing in the company I worked for, (and I knew when this would happen), and by losing that position I would most likely be without a home.
So I prepared myself for this. I sat down and listed my needs (just like we are doing right now). I crossed checked what resources I had and how much money it would take. Then I began looking for ideas on how to meet those needs.
I knew I did not want to be living like some cave dweller in the bush or under a tarp or pile of brush, but I was also practical about the ways that I could balance the modern world with what I wanted out of my life.
I decided that I could be very comfortable and would fit in a mobile unit, like an RV. I consider also in the event I could not afford gas for it anymore, my RV could still provide a place to survive comfortable off the grid, and if I was parked back in the bush out of sight out of mind I could live comfortably undisturbed for a while as well.
My next big project is going to be a gasifier unit to power my RV, so if gas becomes to scarce I will be able to power this RV using wood burning gasifier.
Mind you some of these ideas will require some time for people to learn if they are not very familiar with the wilderness. I already knew before hand how to trap and hunt and forage for food in the wild by myself, I grew up that way.
That is why everyone needs to sit down and itemize their potential. List out what your skill sets are, and what resources you have at hand. What can you live without? Then start building upon those resources; because whatever time frames you think you have, you are probably wrong!
So build your bugout plan and fit it into your life style today, a plan that you can live with now, and practice right now. Then when the time comes for the collapse, your transition will be much smaller as you are already living the dream.
It is scary to consider, but most of us need to consider this; defending ourselves. I have thought about this a fair amount for I do own my own guns, and ammo, and I reload my own ammunition.
But it occurs to me that no matter how ready you think you are, there will always be a force greater than yours. I have sometimes read of predictions of ex-military personnel roaming the countryside living off preppers like you and stealing your stores.
Personally I think this is designed purely to scare people into submission. I think the only ones that we need to fear are the ones most likely to lose their power when the coming collapse happens.
This is one reason I like my mobility, as an aspect of my preparedness. However, if the enemy turns out to be our own state or government or some form of martial law or another war they have gotten us in to.
Then most likely those in control will rule the roads as well as the skies above us. In that case they, will make hiding and traveling much more difficult. Defending yourself is best done by evading the stronger enemy.
No, you do not have to have a gun for defense. However, if you want to eat well sure you can always carve your own bow and arrows.
But if you can afford one, you should at least get a .22 caliber rifle for hunting small game, and learn to trap. At close range and with good shooting (head shots) a .22 can even bring down deer reliably.
This should only be considered in an emergency and only if you are a skilled expert shooter, and know you can sink the shot, because missing the mark it will certainly let the animal get away from you.
It will run for hours before dying somewhere much later when it beds down and you will never find it. That would be cruel and a waste of life.
Again all countries have hunting big game with such a small caliber as illegal. But it is possible never the less in an emergency to do this. So my all around, best survival caliber is a .22 rifle. In addition, bear in mind it is illegal to shoot across open water with a rifle in most countries too, so using it on waterfowl is also illegal due to ricochets off the water.
In my conclusion, now that many of you are getting the idea I’m trying to convey here. Finally, “Never put off until tomorrow what you can do today.” What I’m saying is stop thinking like the old regime tells you to.
Think for yourselves. Stop being a zombie consumer and a slave to their fiat money fraud. Get ready TODAY, get prepared, read a book, and learn as much as you can now. If you will not do this for your family and yourself who will?
Practice what you preach, build that shelter, and sleep in it for a week or so. Design that building you want, and that solar system you need, buy those tools, that gear, and get to work!
Good Luck, and happy hunting… from
The wilderness prepper… Jack Woods
Jack is an avid outdoorsman who, when he’s not at the shooting range, he’s most likely in the woods, either hunting or uploading his latest survival article via his satellite connection.