The Ultimate Prepper Checklist for Beginners

Those of you who are new to prepping and survival may be intimidated by the amount of information out there. You might come to the conclusion that it’s just too much and might even think about quitting.

That’s the last thing I want you to do so wanted to put together an easy checklist for preppers that anyone can use to tick off the things they buy or do. If you’ve done nothing yet for your survival, this is the perfect way start.

Talk is cheap so let’s get down to business…

#1. Shelter

Shelter is more important than food and water because, in a survival situation, you need to protect yourself from cold, rain, wind, snow etc. Your best choices are:

  • a good tent
  • a tarp (can be used along with a tent, just put it on the ground to avoid sleeping directly on the ground)
  • a rain poncho (can be used to make shelter)
  • a few emergency blankets (they’re really cheap on Amazon)
  • and let’s not forget your car / bug out vehicle

#2. Water

According to the rule of threes, you can only survival for 3 days without water so it only makes sense to talk about it first. You should have:

  • one bottle of water in your bug out bag / per family member
  • a water filter such as the LifeStraw or, even better, the Sawyer Mini
  • a water stockpile inside your home (ideally you’ll want a 55-gallon BPA-free water barrel but 5-gallon containers are ok too)
  • a water BOB (to keep near your bath tub and fill it with water before it runs out)
  • water purification tablets

#3. Survival Food

If you’re just beginning, you don’t need to worry about having a huge food stockpile. Start slow and grow it gradually:

  • dried beans
  • white rice
  • canned fruits and veggies
  • canned meat
  • powdered milk
  • multivitamins
  • honey
  • peanut butter
  • and freeze-dried food for your bug out bag

#4. A Bug Out Bag (B.O.B for Short)

I wrote in-depth articles on the best backpack as well as the essentials to have, but what’s important is that:

  • you need a smaller one if you plan to bug in or have a bug out location nearby
  • OR a bigger one with an internal frame and padded shoulders
  • and you need to fill it with essentials but, at the same time, make sure to keep it light enough to carry, make sure you at least have these:
    • a first aid kit
    • a water filter
    • 2-3 ways to start a fire (bic lighters, blast-matches etc.)
    • food (hard candy, energy bars, freeze-dried food etc.)
    • cooking utensils
    • topographic maps of the area
    • an emergency radio
    • Paracord

#5. Clothes

This is easy. You will need:

  • a good pair of hiking boots
  • trainers (as back-up)
  • warm-weather clothes
  • cold-weather clothes
  • a poncho (to protect you from rain when bugging out but also to help you build shelter)
  • a few bandannas
  • sunglasses (to keep the sun away but also light reflecting in the snow)

#6. Lighting

You will need:

  • an LED flashlight (preferably hand-crank)
  • a headlamp
  • candles
  • means to light fires (Bic lighters, waterproof matches etc.)
  • and tinder (that will easily ignite into flames)

#7. Survival Knives

You just can’t call yourself a prepper without a good survival knife! ideally, you will need:

#8. Self-Defense Checklist

You will need several ways to protect yourself, and to keep in mind that not all of them will be available at the time of the attack:

#9. A DIY First Aid Kit

You need basic supplies to deal with injuries, headaches, allergies and so on:

  • bandages
  • Ibuprofen
  • aspirin
  • antibiotic cream
  • wet wipes
  • finger splints
  • hand sanitizer
  • and more.

#10. Communications Checklist

You don’t need to get a HAM radio license just yet, just make sure you have these:

  • an extra cell phone
  • extra cell phone battery
  • a solar charger for your phone and other communications devices
  • an AM/FM radio
  • a CB radio
  • a portable HAM radio
  • and walkie-talkies for each of your family members

Final Word

Of course, these are only the beginning. Keep in mind that after you complete this checklist, you’re going to have to focus on things such as survival skills, a bigger food stockpile as well as getting into shape.

About Dan F. Sullivan

My dad was military. My grandfather was a cop. They served their country well. But I don't like taking orders. I'm taking matters into my own hands so I'm not just preparing, I'm going to a friggin' war to provide you the best of the best survival and preparedness content out there.

One comment

  1. Avatar

    #4 “…and more…” How true. If your wife begins to question why the garage or spare bedroom is starting to look like a min-Bass Pro Shop, your only defense is, “I don’t know what type of emergency, when nor how long. But, I doubt I can get what we need, when that time comes.”

    The best way to start is going to prepper web sites and Pintrest. Always ask yourself, “Who, what, where, when, why”. With very few exceptions, you will find everything you do or need to learn or need to acquire will take on a layered format. Two examples, fire and water.

    First, fire. Although one of these might be sufficient, you should have a few more options. Storm proof matches, bar-b-que lighters and a magnesium fire starter. And, something to catch fire. White, cotton makeup removing pads, impregnated with Vaseline. I also carry a handful of scrap cedar tinder. Pick up scraps of paper as you adventure on.

    Second, water. The life straw is essential. One per person. One? Why? What if you get separated and there is only one straw. Somebody is going without. As good as the straw is, you also need a way to collect, purify and carry water. Why? Unless you plan on hiking along streams and rivers, you may have to go some distance between water sources.

    Happy trails.

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