Sunday, March 4, 2018

Are You Overlooking Any of These Seven Important Areas of Prepping?

Here's a quick look at seven areas of prepping I feel are often overlooked or ignored by many preppers and survivalists. They are presented in no particular order. Are you overlooking any of these?

1) An Emergency Fund - Many preppers and most survivalists believe that the dollar is going to collapse at some point, and that paper money will be worthless. That may be true, but until then we do need money to pay bills and buy stuff. It is a good idea to have an emergency fund set aside for when you need it. Besides,even in an economic crash, the dollar will likely still have some value for a period of time. For more on money in an economic collapse, please read Fernando Aguirre's The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse. It explains in great detail what happened during and after the 2001 economic collapse in Argentina. It will open your eyes as to what might happen in America.  

Idea: If you are one of those folks getting a large bonus check from your company thanks to tax reform (over 300 large companies have announced such bonuses), don't spend it on a large-screen TV or a trip to Disneyland. Instead, use it to create your emergency fund instead. 

2) Getting out of Debt -  I've been around the prepper/survivalist community for about 15 years now. I've become convinced that a surprising number of folks are actually looking forward to an economic collapse, believing that it will give them a clean slate - wiping away their debt and bad credit.  With the sudden collapse of banks, mortgage companies, and other financial institutions, all their credit card debt, student loans, car loans, and even mortgage payments will vanish overnight. That's not reality. Study history (Aguirre's book, mentioned above, is a good starting point). When economic collapses happen, it is not a boon to the poor and indebted.

I've told this story before, but it bears repeating:  I was the owner/moderator of a Yahoo group, Surviving the End, many years ago. One group member offered his plan to prepare: He was going to rack up as much credit card debt as possible buying supplies to survive an economic collapse caused by peak oil. He believed such a collapse would happen "within the next 2 or 3 years," and that banks and other lenders would be unable to collect on debt. He also planned to stop paying his mortgage "about 6 months before the collapse." I'm not sure how he planned to time the event so precisely. This was in 2006. It is now twelve years later, and banks are still collecting on debt. If he truly carried out his plan, he and his family suffered absolute financial devastation years ago. Don't be like him. Make getting debt-free a major prepping goal.

3) Spirituality - Yes, I know a number of people will roll their eyes at this category. Being dismissive of religion is a very "in" thing to do these days (one or the reasons our civilization is in the mess its in, but that's a different article for another day). Yet, I believe that our mental attitude is an extremely important part of prepping (see my article Prepper's Guide to Mental Health and Emotional Preparedness ), and that our spirituality, our relationship with God, is a vwery important part of our mental attitude. My own spirituality (I am an imperfect follower of Jesus) gives me great peace and comfort, especially in difficult times, as well as a sense of purpose, focus, and an understanding of what my priorities should be. Besides, I really do believe God answers prayers and can work miracles. Check out the Peace with God website of the Billy Graham Evangelical Association. Or visit the website The Roman Road.

4) Building Community - I get the sense that there are a lot of "lone wolves" in the prepping and survivalist community. Folks that just want to hide with their families at some mountain retreat far from civilization. This is a mistake, especially over the long-term. Instead, we should work on building community - a network of like-minded folks willing to help each other. Yes, this is difficult. Start small, get to know your neighbors, make friends in the prepper/survivalist community, and work your way up from there. (Personally, I think living near a small town in a rural area, far way from any mega-city, is the best option - but wherever you choose to live, you will need other people at some point.)

5) Health and Fitness - This is a category most people acknowledge is important, but many folks still don't do anything about it. I am constantly amazed by the number of preppers and survivalists I know who are smokers, or who are very overweight, badly out-of-shape, or who have chronic health conditions like Type II diabetes and high blood pressure that are largely self-inflicted (including me!). We all know the excuses - I don't have enough time, I'm too busy, eating healthy costs too much, its too hard, I've got bad knees, I'm too old, I'm too set in my ways to change... But in the end they are just excuses. Make health and fitness a priority.

Idea: Walking is a great way to exercise for free. It can be done around your neighborhood, at a local park or greenway, or inside the local mall (many have "mall walkers" clubs).  You could even takes laps inside a nearby Wal-mart, Target, or other big-box store. The best part of walking is that you can start small (maybe 10 minutes) and slowly work your way up (maybe to an hour a day).

6) Sleep - Another category that may make some eyes roll. After all, we live in a 24/7 world in which most people like to proudly proclaim about how little sleep they need to "get by." Sleep is much more important to good health, mental sharpness, and physical reflexes than most people realize. Making sure you get enough sleep on a consistent basis is one of the best ways to prepare. This is another reason we need community. No one can pull guard duty 24 hours a day. 

7) High Visibility Colors - Although black, camouflage, and khaki are all the rage, there are times when high visibility is preferred. You need some clothes, bandannas, cordage and other gear in bright, highly visible colors like Blaze Red, Safety Orange, Neon Yellow, and Hot Pink. See yesterday's post for more on this idea.

5 comments:

  1. The most difficult aspect to me continues to be building community. I was electronically connected to local prepper groups for four years, and attended meetings over a year, mostly sitting off in a corner, before I felt comfortable enough to have a one-on-one coffee session with anyone. We've discussed "community" many times, but I just don't see a "safe" way to bring in neighbors pre-disaster. I need a good plan to bring in folks almost immediately post-disaster initiation to hopefully avoid the community going bad.

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    1. I really believe that the answer to your conundrum lies in number 3. I believe that there must be something that ties a group together at a deeper level. look to all the tribal cultures and even to the pre industrialized world what tied people together was Family, clan tribe, language, and culture including their spiritual rituals.
      I personally think that finding a small church, not a mega-one, by small I mean less than 300 people, that is devoted to missional living, really being a church, a called out separated group of devoted followers of Jesus, not a building or event.
      When you find a group like that you will have built in the self governing and attempt to live toward doing the right thing. are they perfect, nope but they are trying to live in relationship to God and towards people. They are a people who desire to help each other, to live together as a tribe or family, in our church we have missional groups that meet weekly and sometimes more during the summer we gather around a fire pit share meals and life, and we help each other in and around our homes already, I have helped several get into chickens, gardening, canning, etc. on our block (small village in rural area) we have 6 houses of those six 3 have gardens, three raise chickens, so already the stability of this neighbor hood is good, I have less worry of a neighbor stealing my food and chickens when they are already raising the. 2 of the couples regularly attend the church that is in our neighbor hood and the others have a mostly good relation with us and come tot he bone fires and the summer. We are building our community where we are and based on a relationship to Jesus Christ because, if we want to talk about survival....eternal survival there is one way, one door, And that is through the Blood of Jesus. You know Him and he will guide you in everything else.
      So that is what we do. but if you dont want to go the church route at least start holding a fire pit -cookout in your back yard and invite your neighbors I mean we all eat and who is going to pass up some free grub, like say hey I just want to get to know my neighbors i will provide the burgers if you brinks some side dishes....I also walk through my neighbor hood with my kids all the time, people want community we just in our modern society know how to do it....Zach Because as Tim says I have the guts to put my Name on it. we are also in the Prepper Website section on MAG in Michigan

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    2. Ugg...I had written a really great reply..then it deleted....so You get round two.
      I believe your answer lies in Question 3. You need to find a church where the people live as a church, not a building or event they attend.
      We at our church have several missional communities and they are based around where people live. So ours meet most often at our home, during the summer we have a cook out every Friday night and invite everyone within about 3 blocks to join us, we have been doing this for 2 summers now. In that time our group has grown to include several regulars and several have even joined the church as a result.
      We also have in those three blocks, the church building, a mechanic shop, and several people who grow a garden, raise chickens, and one guy at the edge even raises beef. so yes we are a rural village, but only about 10 minutes from town. We have a river that runs just at the edge of town, so we really are in a great place to build a community for survival.
      I walk through this community almost daily, and always looking to talk with neighbors, people really do want community to belong to they just don't often know how to do it.
      They ones that stick around for a while and we build relationships with then get invited into the core group. We often do things with the young people (teens from the community) teaching them skills like gardening, fishing, hunting, etc as part of our out reach.
      AS Tim said the most important prep is the eternal one. Asking Jesus to be your savior, he alone is the way the truth and life, and then you get the Holy Spirit who will guide and direct and that is better than any pepper manual I have ever owned!
      All that to say I think the best place to start to build your community is with a church and in your own backyard.

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    3. Great comment, in that inspired an article which I just posted: Why Preppers Have a Hard Time Building Community http://www.timgamble.com/2018/03/why-preppers-have-hard-time-building.html Hope you find it thought provoking!

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    4. I think a great plan is to simply get to know your neighbors and spend time getting to know them by talking when you see them and extending help with general things. People will tell you a lot about themselves and you can get an idea of who is capable of being reliable partners in a disaster. It's better than no plan.

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