It should no longer be a secret that the world as we know it will not be around forever. In fact, it should be accepted that within our lifetimes, a major event (geopolitical, natural, or otherwise) will reshape our world into something that we do not recognize. It will turn our lives upside down. “Prepping,” as it is colloquially and condescendingly called, is not just for hermit recluses who have a twitch in their eye and can’t carry on a conversation normally. Being prepared for a sudden need of adaptation to the environment you are in is essential if you wish to survive in this new world.

You Can’t Prepare for Everything

The so-called “preppers” normally evoke thoughts of large stores of food, with underground tunnels on their property, hazmat suits with filters abound, and even a steel bunker that can be locked from the inside. The reality is, that if a nuclear war were to break out, no one would survive. Our Earth would be rendered inhospitable to anyone on the surface. Unless you have a large underground city capable of producing food, water, and oxygen ad-infinitum, your chances of survival from the effects of the bombs alone are close to zero. What you can prepare for though, are scenarios in which we can still breathe the clean air and walk the Earth. It is pointless collecting equipment that you would probably never use. When making preparations, you must choose things that can be useful in a variety of situations. Prepping is both an economic as well as a utilitarian assessment.

Location

In the event of an apocalypse, your location matters almost as much as food does. Cities are the worst places to be during this time. A concrete and steel jungle will be a death trap. With so many people around, a lot can go wrong. It will be every man for himself. Not only will the city officials lock it down and try and control the populace with extreme force, but access to basic necessities will be completely cut off. Suburbs are a better option, but still have a lot of people within close proximity. Not only that, but if you are within an hour drive of a city or metropolitan area, chances are the suburbs are going to be the first target of city dwellers looking for places to stay or loot or take over. When shit really starts to get bad, and people get hungry, many will look to other places to satisfy their basic needs. If the city is the worst place to be in an apocalypse, then the suburbs will seem like paradise when they stroll through.

The ideal spot to hold up in would be a remote or rural area that is not close to cities or areas of large populations. The less people know about your location, the better. The key is to be in a place where you will not be stumbled upon easily, or seen from a route of travel. If you live in a town that has a mile between every house, but your house can be seen from the major interstate highway that cuts through your state, then you might as well light a bonfire and have a neon sign saying, “All are welcome!”

The other factor to consider when having a place to be is its tactical advantage, proximity to water sources, and ability to withstand the elements. Your shelter’s ability to withstand the elements should not be an issue if it is a normal place built before The Collapse. If it is something resembling a hut in Africa, though, you are going to have to put in extra work to make it survive wind, rain, snow, and cold. A shelter’s tactical advantage can refer to its defensibility, its visibility, and its layout. Chances are, you will get attacked by someone who is willing to kill you for what you have, so identifying positions on your land where you can set up and pick them off safely is tantamount to keeping your valuables defended. Every advantage you have will increase your chances of survival, so knowing and creating advantages for yourself will give you confidence in your ability to hold the fort. Lastly, being close enough to a source of water will eliminate the danger of dehydration. Without water, you will die in a matter of days, no matter how great the rest of your preparations are.

Supplies

Refer to the heirerarchy of needs to get your gathering priorities in order. Food and water are the most important. If the place you are staying has a source of water nearby like a river, then you can be relieved that your supply won’t dry up anytime soon. When getting food, it has to be food with the greatest shelf life. Non-perishables are a good start, but they may not give you the best sustenance to keep you going for extended periods of time. You will need real nutrition. Freeze dried food is the best because it has a very long shelf life, it is made with real farm fresh food, and it can be bought in bulk. So instead of having a thousand 10-ounce containers from the food aisle, you can have a hundred 20-ounce cans of freeze dried food ready for you to add water if you need it. Other important supplies to grab are: water purification devices, first aid materials, antiseptic materials, and personal hygene items. Seriously, toilet paper will be like gold.

Bullets

A view of AK-47 shells. The AK-47 is the most widely used assault rifle in the world.

This cannot be stressed enough. When you have a situation where people are on their own and it is every man for himself, self defense is something you cannot go without. You could have enough food to last you a decade, but lack of a firearm will start a countdown to your demise. Purchase a firearm, and know how to use it. Train with it. Make it become an extension of your body. Know how to take it apart and put it back together. Buy bullets – tons of bullets. Your firearm should be chambered in a caliber that is both common and effective at killing. A semi-automatic rife with a box magazine is ideal. Having a firearm and knowing how to use it will give you a ton more power in managing your situation. And if it comes to it – and it will, you will have to kill someone who wants you dead.

Conclusion

These are the basics. Knowing what you will need at a base level will instill confidence in you that will carry over to making other decisions in how you will ensure your survival. It is important to take into account cost, time, energy, and resources when prepping because you are doing this before anything happens. If the shit hits the fan and you are not prepared, then God help you.