The Newbie's Perspective to Prepping
Have you ever sat around the lunch table with your friends and discussed what you would do in the event of a zombie apocalypse? Maybe you did it before zombies were so "mainstream" and referred to as "walkers" thanks to The Walking Dead. Or maybe you've had that conversation thanks to that show, or something like it? It's even possible you've had those "end of days" discussions because you're a gamer, and games like Fallout exist which give you a hard look at a fantastic post-nuclear war America.
The point is, even if you don't think those conversations meant much, or that those are just crazy ideas...That's not entirely the case. See there exists an entire community of people around the U.S. at least called preppers. Now these people, at this point you might have seen them on the Discovery channel, watched them as a novelty and thought how crazy they must seem. But weren't you just at lunch last week talking about if you had to survive in a zombie wasteland?
Let me try and put a more personal perspective on this...
I'm a 24 year old college dropout, who delivers pizza part-time while I try to find a 40 hour job that doesn't involve spending time in a factory. And yes, when I was in high school from 2006-2010 I had those conversations about zombies and what my friends and I would do, I watched the first season of TWD and thought it was a bada** show, and I've been playing video games since I was about 7. So I've had all of those conversations that I'm sure some people at this point in their lives would be a little embarrassed to admit to.
Just to try and illustrate how outlandish some of the ideas that can spawn from those conversations are...I am to a point still a Halo fan, I remember a couple years back I was watching the live action stuff that was out, and I ended up thinking to myself,"Huh....it can't be that hard to put together a Spartan armor set. At least for more practical use." But...what's a practical use for super soldier's armor that looks like it's pieced together from motocross pieces with an exo-skin layer? Well if I had to take a stab in the dark like I did when I conceived the idea and thought I was being original? Survival. In a Fallout wasteland you need power armor to be protected from the elements (radiation included) and all the varmints (six, four, or two legged). Now motocross padding and under armor brand underclothing isn't going to protect you from radiation, bullets and wild dogs, but at the time I thought the idea had some merits...At least til you have to find a bush to turn into a bathroom haha.
Setting some jokes aside though, that is, at the barest of bones a prepper mindset. "Hm, if zombies attacked id...", "I think if Fallout were real..." etc. Now I'm not telling you to act on that mindset, because chances are you're like me and if you try to act on it, you won't know which direction to go first, or even which direction is up. Like having a blindfold ripped off your eyes to find you're on a boat in the middle of a lake that your friends just threw you in...And you don't know how to swim.
I'll echo some sound advice given to me. First, breathe. There is no need to go 90 in a 35 like I was when I first joined this community. I spent the majority of this past year floundering as I was exposed to different preparation mentalities through youtube and a friend of mine. I did at some points feel like I was drowning simply because, I didn't (and still don't) have certain kinds of guns, because I don't have any rations stored up, no fuel or water system set up, no medication stocked outside of things for everyday use. Realizing all of this, I would get stressed repeatedly, I needed first aid kits, I needed MRE rations, I needed more bullets, heck I needed more guns.
Don't make the same mistake I did, once I was "slapped awake" as a clever fellow forumite put it, I felt like I needed to grab every gun and box of ammo left and right of me that I could, and I tried to. I scrambled and panicked and stressed out just because of guns and ammo....
Again, just breathe. Take a minute and relax. Remind yourself, the world isn't ending now, the world isn't ending tomorrow. And if it for some reason does, refer yourself back to something like The Walking Dead, your on screen heroes are not preppers, they aren't actual heroes either. They're just a group of people that have survived by planning accordingly to the situations that they've found themselves in. However if you feel like making a plan, prepping for a situation that could cause an "end of days" or as preppers say SHTF (Sh*t hit the fan) situation, whether that be a government collapse, civil unrest/war or we do get bombed or invaded by zombies or aliens. Well then first of all, welcome to the community!
From one noob to another I have to tell you, the best advice next to slowing down and don't try and figure it all out at once is this, assess your situation.
Do you have a family? People that if you tried to leave home as a group would slow you down? Then you should probably try and fortify your home instead of striking out into the unknown. If that applies to you, and you have the space for it, then you should also be trying to figure out a way to create a sustainable food source, and of course water. Maybe you have room for a garden, or a farmhouse where you can start with some chickens. If you do that's great! But if you're like me and you live in the awkward suburb area of a rural town, you probably don't have a lot of space for things like that.
Or are you someone who doesn't have any attachments to your current home? If that's the case and you feel more comfortable striking out into the unknown, then the suggestions there are a little easier to take. Especially if you're experienced in hiking in the wild, then you're halfway there! Most of the advice I've been able to gather in the sense of bugging-out as it's referred to, is that you should be able to carry everything that you need to survive. Obviously food and water again, but water can be a bit hard to lug around right? Well as I said if you're someone who takes nature trips already then you're more familiar with things like purification tablets and what I believe are called carbiners, which is what I think the Life Straw is supposed to be. Outside of food and something to safely use local water with, you want first aid, and even though it may sound ridiculous a day or two of change of clothes. Which, upon hearing myself I thought sounded a little ridiculous.
But think about it, have you ever spent a day working in the yard, greased up under a car or just generally doing hands on work? And afterwards you don't go shower or change clothes because you're just too tired? Then by the end of the night your clothes just feel sort of crusty and you'd rather be exposed to elements than sit in those sweaty rags? That's why you want extra clothes.
Now for the record I want to reiterate. I'm not experienced with this stuff. I've been actively trying to prep and learn more about it for about the past four months. But I'm no more experienced than the noobs who may be reading this.
But I digress from my shortcomings, just remember they are there, if you want more information. Try talking to some of those people you used to think were crazy old fools with a book full of conspiracy theories in a bomb shelter basement. They're onto something.
Last on the list of tools for prepping, physical tools that is, outside of food, water, shelter, first aid, and actual tools that you may want to add to a kit, is a firearm. That's right a gun, you didn't think you'd go all the way through an article on prepping without discussing weapons did you? The fact is, even preppers don't know what to prep for, keep the list broad because anything can happen. Christmas could come this year and the earth could split open with the armies of Hell coming to take over the world for all we know haha.
The way I see it, you can't plan what Sh*z is going to hit the fan, and you can't conceivably plan for every little thing, you'd spend the rest of your life doing it. My suggestion would instead be, make that basic plan, bug-out with a stable pack, or bug-in with a well preserved system. But don't fool yourself into thinking you won't need a gun. No matter what the situation ends up being, if it comes in our lifetime, you may need to go hunting, then you need a rifle preferably. You may find yourself face to face with someone who's threatening your life, well you may want a gun in that situation too.
Trust me, I struggled with a two stage plan of first bugging-in then bugging-out. That I couldn't pull together because the three other people I needed to plan for, plus a dog, just a bit too much in the way of supplies needed to carry. I still tried to justify a way to piece together my little "Power armor" idea too...But I make $8 an hour at a pizza shop on part-time hours, even if I was dead set on doing something as extravagant as that I'd hardly be able to afford it, especially needing to focus on the more essential parts of a system. Which, take time in gathering and setting up.
I may be wrong in this article. And if there are any prepper noobs out there that read this, don't take another noob's word as law. Talk to the people around you, get involved in the conversation online. Remember I'm new to this too. There is a lot to learn, it's practical knowledge believe it or not. Maybe you know someone who is a prepper and you dismissed them, but you're curious now. That's okay. Go back, ask them questions, talk to people about prepping, because if you can't ask questions you can't learn anything. No matter how many negative things you may have heard about the community. They are kind, supportive, and want you to learn how to care for yourself and potentially those around you.
I invite you to join us online and urge you to talk to those around you, because they can teach you more than I ever could trying to sum up my fumbles in the learning process in a single article.