How to Prep for and Survive Living Alone

So much information on prepping is geared toward prepping for a group of people, whether that is a family unit, a group of families, or a mutual assistance group (MAG) that goes beyond your family and neighborhood boundaries. But not everyone is prepping for a group.

There are people out there who are prepping for themselves and only themselves. They are on their own for whatever reason, be it that they choose to be or have found themselves in that situation.

Regardless, prepping for a single person living alone is a bit different than prepping for a group. Let’s start with the advantages and disadvantages to prepping alone.

Pros and Cons of Prepping Solo

An individual enjoys some advantages, but also faces some disadvantages to prepping and surviving on their own. It is important to understand these, because if you do, you will be able to play to those advantages and make plans to minimize the disadvantages as much as possible.


  • You can move more quickly and quietly on your own.
  • You need less food, water and supplies.
  • It is easier to conceal yourself and cover your tracks if it’s just you, rather than a group.
  • You can make decisions more quickly because there is no one to negotiate (or argue) with.


  • Security of an area is more difficult because there is no one to share watch shifts or perimeter duty with.
  • It can get lonely because there is no one to talk to and no companionship.
  • There is no one to bounce ideas off of or who can contribute solutions to problems.
  • There is no one to share the workload with.

With these advantages and disadvantages in mind, it is important to realize that adjustments have to be made when prepping for one person. Let’s take a look.

Adjustments when Prepping for One

There is no doubt that prepping for one person means you have to make changes to how you prepare. You have to look at every aspect of prepping from the perspective of how you can do it for just one person—you!

Mental Wellbeing

Human beings are meant to live in community. We need it and crave it for various reasons, not the least of which is that we figured out hundreds of thousands of years ago that our chances of survival increased when we lived and worked together.

When you have just yourself to take care of, you will have to get used to being alone—and that is no small feat for most people. Just think about the use of solitary confinement as a punishment. Enough said.

This is not to say that you cannot live and prep alone. You can, but you have to be just as prepared for that as you are for the SHTF event that might come.

Since chances are you already live alone, you are perhaps used to caring for just yourself and manage perfectly fine on your own, you have a head start.

However, even if you live alone, in current society you can still get out and socialize, chat with your neighbors, visit with friends. You might still have a job outside of the house where you interact with others.

This is very different than going it alone for survival. Plus, any of us could end up alone at any time during a disaster and we need to be able to mentally handle that and keep our sanity.

After all, let’s face it. Prepping and being alone after a SHTF event occurs means that you will be living in solitude much or all of the time and that will take its toll mentally.

For this reason, you need to ensure that you are able to keep busy on a constant basis so that when you are surviving on your own you will be able to keep your mental focus on various tasks rather than your loneliness.

Your survival duties and chores will be a big part of this, but you can also be sure to have some hobbies to keep you busy. In addition, make sure you have variety in what you do each day so you don’t get bogged down in the same old routine day-after-day.


If you are on your own, you will need to learn many skillsets. While this is a good idea in any situation and with any number of people in your group, when you are on your own, you truly need to know how to do everything you need to do to stay alive.

There is no one to rely on when you don’t know which plants are poisonous and which aren’t.

There is no one who is the better marksman—you are it so you need to be the best. Whatever you bring to the table is the entire feast, which means you must know how to hunt, fish, forage, build a fire, preserve food, navigate, find and purify water, clean and dress wounds, defend yourself, and, well, the list could go on and on.

What to Carry

When you’re on your own, you need to think of traveling light if you have to bug out. Sure, you won’t need as much in the way of food, water, and supplies when you’re on your own, but there are basic tools you should have and there is no one but you to carry them.

There will be some tools and equipment you will have on you at all times, such as a fire starting kit, a knife, a multi-tool, and a hatchet, but you won’t carry hundreds of rounds of bullets or gallons of water.

Aside from carefully considering what you will carry on your person at all times, the lone prepper will have to make use of caches more than someone prepping for a group.

Whether you are bugging out, on the move, or bugging in, you need to carefully consider how many caches you need, what you should store in them, and where they should be located. When you have caches of supplies, food, and water spread out around your home or a pre-planned travel route, you will always have what you need when you need it.

Physical Condition

Every prepper should be in good physical condition because there will be a lot of physical strain on the body and potentially a lot less food and sleep. However, for the lone prepper, their level of physical fitness and stamina must be at its absolute highest going into SHTF.

Even if you have a nice, secluded bugout location and you make it there in one piece, the daily work that needs to be done to ensure your survival is hard, grueling work. Energy conservation will be paramount for the lone prepper.

Consider the Nomadic Life

Defending your home, your preps, or your bugout location can be difficult. Many believe that it simply isn’t possible if you are by yourself and they are right. If a large group of looters or desperate people show up, fighting them off alone is not a reasonable expectation.

If you have to get out of dodge because you can’t defend your home or your bugout location, then being on the move might be the best thing.

Being constantly on the move definitely has its drawbacks, such as not being able to grow a garden, have well water, keep animals, or set down roots, but if you have a those things, you are a target. Period.

If you are on your own, then moving from place to place will allow you to keep out of sight, hunt and gather as you go, and become less of a target. Not everyone will want to live this kind of lifestyle, even if they are on their own, but it is worth considering and might become necessity at some point.

Prepping Alone vs. Surviving Alone

Ultimately, most preppers agree that you really cannot go it alone in the long-run, and that to survive, we need the help of others.

Despite this, there are many preppers out there who are alone because they feel more comfortable that way or life circumstances have placed them in the position of prepping for only themselves.

If you are one of them, then do the very best you can with what you have, ensuring that you build up your physical fitness, skillset, and make plans according to what you are capable of on your own.

If you truly wish to prep with others, rather than going it alone, then try to seek out like-minded preppers who you can get to know and team up with before the SHTF.

You need to do this now and you can look on forums and go to local meetups to find people you can connect with. Once society has collapsed, it will be much harder to find the people you would like to work with. Happy prepping!

3 thoughts on “How to Prep for and Survive Living Alone”

  1. Avatar

    i have lived alone in an urban apartment with my kitties for several years. this is where i will stay if at all possible. i have food for me and the girls and plenty of water. i have city ponds nearby for water with the stuff at home to filter and clean the water. i have an indoor garden ( no balcony). i am also almost 70 years old. i will do what i can for as long as i can on my own. if i can ever find a group that would accept me, thats all well and good. it’s important to prep for whatever situation you find yourself in. best to everyone.

  2. Avatar

    I am a little more than a decade younger than Magee in previous comment and have lived a good portion of the last decade in a primitive camp in the Northeast woods. In the last few winters I parked my old motorhome in someone’s drive but would return early spring. I’ve planted gardens, food trees sometimes raised chickens/rabbits which mainly feed the wildlife, built rudimentary structures out of salvaged materials, played with electric bikes, simple solar battery systems, cooked, and dried food, repaired most everything. I got lost in the woods many times, built debris huts, felled trees with handsaws, repaired vehicles, built water catchment and simple pumps, snowmobiled, ATV’d, dirt-biked, snowshoed, foraged simple wild edibles, propagated plants, fended off bears and coyotes, all alone, sometimes not seeing people for weeks. I was definitely alone, but not necessarily lonely. Books and a tiny solar radio made me feel like I was around people all the time. My vivid dreams would also fill in for companionship.
    . I’ve loved doing this and will probably continue for awhile. No doubt it is extremely difficult from a physical standpoint as I am not a large person and weigh about 120 pounds if I’m lucky. That’s where hand trucks, winches, leverage and common sense have helped me but it’s not to say I have not injured myself. I’ve had my share of knife wounds, cuts from a sawblade, minor frostbite, burns, bee and wasp stings, poison oak, tick bites which I’ve tested at a college service, sunstroke, muscle and back injuries, severe hunger and thirst, sunstroke, colds, migraines, severe cold and discomfort, and overwork.
    . But I’ve learned to depend on myself, and I’ve learned so much by doing this. Now when I go into even a fairly risky city or area, I don’t have as much fear and kind of feel like its a matter of attitude, and basically its safer then being in the woods alone, though I’m sure that’s a figment of my imagination, but my attitude prevails.
    I would recommend this type of walkabout for anyone who wants to find out who they really are, and what they can handle and how strong they can become, not to mention being surrounded by nature 24/7 and experiencing some amazing life thrills.
    . By the way, I happen to be a woman.

  3. Avatar

    Being the lone wolf has many advantages BEFORE a collapse in society occurs. I do agree that joining another loner or family will likely occur in time. What skills / materials / knowledge you bring would be a major advantage to others. One mouth to feed while supplying these things is one major advantage, as in as time goes by, the less ready made food there is to consume.

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