Prepping for Prepping

Prepping – it’s an endless activity that has few rewards, and those rewards often are not close in payout to the amount of time and effort that went into them. The interim rewards in prepping include not having to run to the store constantly to keep your food stocked. When you’re a Prepper your grocery store is in your own house, going to an actual store is akin to going to a warehouse to get resupplied. The other reward is great personal satisfaction and comfort in knowing that you are ready for anything – well, almost ready – there’s ALWAYS something else that can be done. The big payoff rarely comes for a Prepper – and that is when things get bad enough that you’re able to make it through it solely because you were prepped. This lifestyle, with it’s small rewards and rare big payoff, can be tiring – even overwhelming at times.

Prepping – it’s an endless activity that has few rewards, and those rewards often are not close in payout to the amount of time and effort that went into them. The interim rewards in prepping include not having to run to the store constantly to keep your food stocked. When you’re a Prepper your grocery store is in your own house, going to an actual store is akin to going to a warehouse to get resupplied. The other reward is great personal satisfaction and comfort in knowing that you are ready for anything – well, almost ready – there’s ALWAYS something else that can be done. The big payoff rarely comes for a Prepper – and that is when things get bad enough that you’re able to make it through it solely because you were prepped. This lifestyle, with it’s small rewards and rare big payoff, can be tiring – even overwhelming at times.

Random preparedness, which a lot of people I am acquainted with participate in, is a step up from non-preparedness but can be somewhat misleading, perhaps even dangerous. Wade talks about some of this in his inaugural post – you might have wheat stored, but do you know how to use it? If you have a flashlight, do you consider yourself prepped for darkness? What will you do when the batteries run out, do you have batteries stored? Do you just have one flashlight, or do you have one for each person in your family? How about two for each person in the family? Or a store of emergency candles to supplement the flashlights? Redundancy is very important! If you have candles stored to backup your flashlight, how will you light them? Do you have matches stored? What will you do if you run out of matches? Do you have flint and steel stored? This may seem like I have randomly picked flashlights, but with any item you pick it will almost always pare down to a “primitive” solution. Lighting leads down to flint and steel. Heat, both cooking and warming, leads down to flint and steel. Transportation leads down to pack animals and hand-made carts. And so on. Primitive or Pioneer skills are essential in a long term TEOTWAKI situation. This post isn’t to discuss primitive survival methods though, it’s to discuss navigating the Rabbit Hole.

The Preparedness Rabbit Hole can be a maddening thing! Once you start down it, you find there are endless branches, many of them intertwine and many of them go very deep and then head back near the surface only to empty into yet another branch. Let’s enter the Rabbit Hole through the Weapons entrance, whether for protection or for hunting. If you have no weapon preps or knowledge, your first thought will most likely be a gun, if you know nothing about guns this leads you to your first branch in the Rabbit Hole, and it’s right at the surface. You can learn about Handguns, Shotguns, Long-guns and Battle Rifles – and more if you’re inclined. In learning about these, you’ll learn about lines of defense and where each weapon is appropriate and for what, and when you need to rely on a different weapon. You’ll run back and forth between these branches for a while. Then you’ll settle on something, let’s say you settle on a Long-gun so you can hunt big game. Now you have to settle on a caliber, to keep this short, we’ll say you settle on a .30-06. Now you have to choose and purchase a weapon and learn about ammo – 180 grain bullets or 150? Ballistic Tips or Full Metal Jackets – and so on. OK, now you’ve bought your gun and a box of 50 180 grain BT cartridges.

Now the Rabbit Hole, which you thought you were near the end of, goes crazy. What will you do when you’ve shot all 50 of those cartridges you bought? Reload? You are now at the top of another tunnel, reloading – and you’re going to need a lot of supplies and some equipment. What if the only game you can find is small game – and a 30-06 would destroy it? What if you need personal protection? What if you can’t carry a rifle around because of how obvious it is? What if you’ve run out of bullets and reloading supplies? Can you make a bow and arrow out of raw materials? Can you make a sling? Do you know how to use either of them? Do you need a scope for your rifle? How strong of a scope do you need? Once you kill an animal, do you have the knives and equipment to gut and clean it? Do you know how? How will you get the animal out of the forest? Once home, how will you butcher it, both know-how and equipment? Once it’s butchered, how will you process and store it? Do you dry it? Do you freeze it, do you have a generator to keep your freezer running? Do you have gas to keep the geni running? Do you have a different alternative power source like solar or wind? The big one – do you have spare parts for the generator, freezer, rifle, reloader? Do you even know how to use spare parts (if you can get some by bartering) to fix any of those things? Do you feel the insanity of prepping beginning to slip in??? The Preppers Rabbit Hole is endless and maddening. Maybe that’s why they call us serious preppers crazy – cause in a way we can get there.

A LOT of effort has been made by a lot of people to map out the Rabbit Hole for us but unfortunately, there is no definitive map. If you’re a spiritual person and believe in personal inspiration you can turn to God for help and direction. If not, you can turn to books and more books and even more. Even if you’re the spiritual person, you still need to review books or other things so that God can direct and inspire you to what is important for you to investigate further. Many of us on this site as authors or readers have done some version of this approach and are willing and trying to share with others the maps that we have created of the Rabbit Hole. None of us have all the answers, each of us have thoughts, experiences and training of potential value to the others and together we have a lot of The Hole mapped.

Mapping the Rabbit Hole is Preparing for Preparedness. It’s studying, learning, practicing, experiencing, listening, reading, experimenting and so on. It’s good there is no complete map – in order to navigate The Hole you must “learn to fish”. By learning it for yourself you are able to make connections in the future from that experience that you wouldn’t have made otherwise. By studying prep topics you begin to see new things as common sense and gain an ability to puzzle things out for yourself. These experiences will likely be the most valuable thing to you in a TEOTWAKI situation – perhaps even more so than your preps themselves.

Prepping for Preparedness is something that becomes a lifestyle. Once you’re into it, if you stay into it, there is always a new top level Rabbit Hole to enter. This year I am peering into a few of them and considering diving in. I’m looking into Pandemic preparedness – which leads into all kinds of medical preparedness branches including knowledge, training and equipment. I’m also looking into leather work and how to make clothes from animal hides – which immediately branches into tanning hides and comes from hunting education. I’m looking to extend my growing season and trying to learn how early I can start plants indoors and the best techniques for it – which branches into different gardening equipment and requires different spaces than I’ve used. I also have plans this year to save up and buy 3 huge tents and 3 tent stoves from cylinderstoves.com.

With my intentions of getting into all these new areas and buying several new things, I have to study and communicate to learn the branches I can expect in these Rabbit Holes and start a mental map so I can navigate. I’m looking into medical suppliers, leather suppliers, gardening suppliers and reading several books, websites and manuals. I’m looking into classes I can take and other new areas where I can get experience. I plan to make several posts on these topics as I go, hopefully by the end of the year this site will be a good resource for these areas of preparedness.

What experiences have you had in the Rabbit Hole? Would you like to be a guest author and share them? Do you have some good experience in Prepping for Preparedness that you can share? Have you had experience in the areas I’m looking into that you would be willing to share, either in comments or as a guest author? Are you interested in learning these skills and maybe going through them with me? Let us know!

26 thoughts on “Prepping for Prepping”

  1. What experiences have you had in the Rabbit Hole?

    One important thing that I’ve learned is that there are always more things to acquire; the list never ends. So I have two firm rules I try to follow:

    1. Prioritize, prioritize, prioritize!
    2. Do not go into debt to purchase items on my list.

    This slows down my preparation as I first need to earn the money to buy the stuff, but with an ever-expanding rabbit hole (and thus ever-increasing list of things I feel I need), it’s too easy to get carried away and load it all up on the credit card.

    Baby steps… baby steps to total preparedness (if there exists sucha thing).

  2. What experiences have you had in the Rabbit Hole?

    One important thing that I’ve learned is that there are always more things to acquire; the list never ends. So I have two firm rules I try to follow:

    1. Prioritize, prioritize, prioritize!
    2. Do not go into debt to purchase items on my list.

    This slows down my preparation as I first need to earn the money to buy the stuff, but with an ever-expanding rabbit hole (and thus ever-increasing list of things I feel I need), it’s too easy to get carried away and load it all up on the credit card.

    Baby steps… baby steps to total preparedness (if there exists sucha thing).

  3. I have only been into the preparedness mindset for a few months. My wife is part supportive and part skeptical. That, plus two young kids at home, puts a lot of pressure on me. I have to admit, many times I have felt overwhelmed at how much there is to do and how little time there is to do it in. I’ve decided I can’t let myself look at the big picture, because it’ll just make me despair. So, I am focusing on one or two things at a time.

  4. I have only been into the preparedness mindset for a few months. My wife is part supportive and part skeptical. That, plus two young kids at home, puts a lot of pressure on me. I have to admit, many times I have felt overwhelmed at how much there is to do and how little time there is to do it in. I’ve decided I can’t let myself look at the big picture, because it’ll just make me despair. So, I am focusing on one or two things at a time.

  5. @connor no kidding, NO DEBT
    @Daren it’s like debt reduction, looking at everything will always overwhelm you. But like a long hike, it’s one step at a time to get there. If crap happens when you are halfway to your goal, you’re still better off than you were. So start simple, and develop the habits.
    Also, don’t forget that most of preparedness is mental preparedness. It’s what you know, and how you react. That doesn’t cost in the way a case of food does. Start reading, and you’ll be prepping.

  6. @connor no kidding, NO DEBT
    @Daren it’s like debt reduction, looking at everything will always overwhelm you. But like a long hike, it’s one step at a time to get there. If crap happens when you are halfway to your goal, you’re still better off than you were. So start simple, and develop the habits.
    Also, don’t forget that most of preparedness is mental preparedness. It’s what you know, and how you react. That doesn’t cost in the way a case of food does. Start reading, and you’ll be prepping.

  7. Connor, great points! Prioritization is a critical part of planning and executing your prep plans.

    And I loudly second your statement about not going into debt for preparedness! If was was willing to just charge everything I needed/wanted for preps not only would I be broke, I’d have everything I needed and prepping wouldn’t be a lifestyle for me.

    It will be a sacrifice for me this year to purchase the tents and stoves that I mention in this article. In the neighborhood of $5k. I know I’ll appreciate them MUCH more for the effort that went into getting them. The only stress with it is that I have to sit back for a year and hope I get it before TSHTF :)

  8. Connor, great points! Prioritization is a critical part of planning and executing your prep plans.

    And I loudly second your statement about not going into debt for preparedness! If was was willing to just charge everything I needed/wanted for preps not only would I be broke, I’d have everything I needed and prepping wouldn’t be a lifestyle for me.

    It will be a sacrifice for me this year to purchase the tents and stoves that I mention in this article. In the neighborhood of $5k. I know I’ll appreciate them MUCH more for the effort that went into getting them. The only stress with it is that I have to sit back for a year and hope I get it before TSHTF :)

  9. @daren excellent feedback from Jayce there, and Connor’s comment as well – baby steps will get you a long way! The important thing is that with every match you are able to buy, you are more prepared than you were before.

    And like Jayce said and my article mentions, the most important part of prepping is the knowledge and experience. It changes you. There are lots of cheap homemade type things you can do – take a look at our cotton ball firestarter post for example. Major prep for only 6 bucks.

    And for your wife, once you get your food storage going make sure that you have all the things stored up that she is needing all the time. Then, when she says “we’re out of X” you can just tell her it’s down in storage and you’ll go grab it for her – or show her where. She’ll learn to love the idea of having her own supply of everything! Well, my wife and several of my friends wives have at least. :)

  10. @daren excellent feedback from Jayce there, and Connor’s comment as well – baby steps will get you a long way! The important thing is that with every match you are able to buy, you are more prepared than you were before.

    And like Jayce said and my article mentions, the most important part of prepping is the knowledge and experience. It changes you. There are lots of cheap homemade type things you can do – take a look at our cotton ball firestarter post for example. Major prep for only 6 bucks.

    And for your wife, once you get your food storage going make sure that you have all the things stored up that she is needing all the time. Then, when she says “we’re out of X” you can just tell her it’s down in storage and you’ll go grab it for her – or show her where. She’ll learn to love the idea of having her own supply of everything! Well, my wife and several of my friends wives have at least. :)

  11. The only stress with it is that I have to sit back for a year and hope I get it before TSHTF.

    Funny you should mention that, as that’s how I partly feel with every major purchase I do: (“I hope I get one before they sell out”, “…or before prices skyrocket”, “…or before something major happens”).

    The other part of me always hopes that I never have to use these things; that my bugout bag (while rotated and ready) will sit unused in my closet; that the big tent I want will actually never be needed; that the ammo I have will be used for nothing other than recreation.

    But if history and current affairs are any indication, that latter hope is in vain, and we’re running out of time. :)

  12. The only stress with it is that I have to sit back for a year and hope I get it before TSHTF.

    Funny you should mention that, as that’s how I partly feel with every major purchase I do: (“I hope I get one before they sell out”, “…or before prices skyrocket”, “…or before something major happens”).

    The other part of me always hopes that I never have to use these things; that my bugout bag (while rotated and ready) will sit unused in my closet; that the big tent I want will actually never be needed; that the ammo I have will be used for nothing other than recreation.

    But if history and current affairs are any indication, that latter hope is in vain, and we’re running out of time. :)

  13. This is a fantastic explanation of prepping! I don’t know that total preparedness exists either. Because part of the rabbit hole selection problem is we don’t know all the details of what we’re prepping for. We can assume some parts of it (no power/running water/etc.) but won’t be sure which supplies/knowledge are needed until we need them. I heard someone once say they finished their year’s supply and I thought about how my preparations haven’t stopped since they started–I don’t know that I’ll ever be finished!

    I have been going down rabbit holes for 10 years or so and enjoying every minute of it–it really turns into a lifestyle. I have a couple of friends who have been standing in the field, looking at the holes and panicking because they don’t know where to start. If you’re not sure where to start, it might help to take a friend along with you (maybe that’s just a girl thing–I don’t know). We have a group of 4 of us that get together regularly and go over, learn, practice some topic of preparedness. It has been really fun to learn from each other and keeps us all thinking about preparedness and has helped those standing in the field to go ahead and jump in. It also makes you accountable–I’m giving homework assignments and we’re checking up on each others’ progress. A little at a time, don’t try to hop in every hole at once! :)

    Really enjoying the site–keep up the good work!

  14. This is a fantastic explanation of prepping! I don’t know that total preparedness exists either. Because part of the rabbit hole selection problem is we don’t know all the details of what we’re prepping for. We can assume some parts of it (no power/running water/etc.) but won’t be sure which supplies/knowledge are needed until we need them. I heard someone once say they finished their year’s supply and I thought about how my preparations haven’t stopped since they started–I don’t know that I’ll ever be finished!

    I have been going down rabbit holes for 10 years or so and enjoying every minute of it–it really turns into a lifestyle. I have a couple of friends who have been standing in the field, looking at the holes and panicking because they don’t know where to start. If you’re not sure where to start, it might help to take a friend along with you (maybe that’s just a girl thing–I don’t know). We have a group of 4 of us that get together regularly and go over, learn, practice some topic of preparedness. It has been really fun to learn from each other and keeps us all thinking about preparedness and has helped those standing in the field to go ahead and jump in. It also makes you accountable–I’m giving homework assignments and we’re checking up on each others’ progress. A little at a time, don’t try to hop in every hole at once! :)

    Really enjoying the site–keep up the good work!

  15. I know exactly what you are talking about, it can seem overwhelming at times. Sometimes you get the urge to stock-up in a certain area just to get it taken care of. The problem with that method is you are missing many other areas, and if you don’t rotate then your investment can go to waste.

    I recommend looking at it from a “survival time” point of view. How long can I be self-reliant? Simply by adding some water storage to your home will allow you to survive a week. What would it take to survive two weeks? A month? Two months? By slowly increasing your survival time, you can comfortably prepare without stressing and you will have a feeling of accomplishment as you reach each milestone.

  16. I know exactly what you are talking about, it can seem overwhelming at times. Sometimes you get the urge to stock-up in a certain area just to get it taken care of. The problem with that method is you are missing many other areas, and if you don’t rotate then your investment can go to waste.

    I recommend looking at it from a “survival time” point of view. How long can I be self-reliant? Simply by adding some water storage to your home will allow you to survive a week. What would it take to survive two weeks? A month? Two months? By slowly increasing your survival time, you can comfortably prepare without stressing and you will have a feeling of accomplishment as you reach each milestone.

  17. Like trying to nail jello to a tree.

    You did an awesome job of wordsmithing there.
    Yes, it is overwhelming and yes, we all got here with the help of many people knowing only parts of the big equation.
    Focus on the basics and pray that you will get by.
    Crazy isn’t as fun as some folks would like you to believe.

  18. Like trying to nail jello to a tree.

    You did an awesome job of wordsmithing there.
    Yes, it is overwhelming and yes, we all got here with the help of many people knowing only parts of the big equation.
    Focus on the basics and pray that you will get by.
    Crazy isn’t as fun as some folks would like you to believe.

  19. Excellent article! I have been very impressed with your site and the obviously experienced authors since finding it earlier this year.

    Having been at this preparedness thing for nearly 25 years myself, I can tell you the Rabbit Hole analogy is perfect. As emphasized, prioritization is key. Ten-thousand rounds of ammunition and a years worth of stored food will not do you much good if you don’t have a supply of potable water for yourself and your family. Anything that will force you to leave the security of your home during a disaster situation exponentially multiplies the chances that you will be added to the victim list.

    I would also suggest to look at prioritization in terms of potential product price changes and product availabilities. Usually these market changes are very predictable. For example, the increasing prices and sporadic shortages of long-term survival foods (and many other survival products) coincides with the recent media popularization of the “Survival Movement”. The dramatic price increases and availability issues with firearms and ammunition could be expected long before the presidential inauguration and current situation. Similarly, pandemic supplies are best obviously purchased BEFORE the WHO announces Phase 6 Pandemic level and the obvious product shortages. Think about what sorts of things would be in demand and short supply in various disaster situations ahead of time.

    Another way that I look at prioritization is balance. There are times that I go down one “hole” or another for sure but overall I try to keep balanced across the major critical areas of preparedness in both study, training and financial expenditure. I believe that it only takes one neglected critical preparation area to turn a well meaning “prepper” into a desperate refugee or victim. Water, food, communications, medical, energy production, shelter, self-defense, financial/bartering resources, reference materials, among others, all need to be addressed in terms of short, intermediate and long-term planning scenarios.

    Thanks to experienced authors like yourself, there are vast resources of information available on the internet. Taking advantage of the collective experience can be an extremely efficient method of minimizing the learning curves associated in every area as well as reducing costly purchase errors no matter how far along you may be. Be mindful as you go because there are also many sources of “bad” (read-dangerous) information out there. My advice is to take your time, explore and study the basics of each “Rabbit Hole” and proceed from where you are. Don’t be overwhelmed-just start from where you are and you will be better prepared than you were yesterday!
    -doctor zero

  20. Excellent article! I have been very impressed with your site and the obviously experienced authors since finding it earlier this year.

    Having been at this preparedness thing for nearly 25 years myself, I can tell you the Rabbit Hole analogy is perfect. As emphasized, prioritization is key. Ten-thousand rounds of ammunition and a years worth of stored food will not do you much good if you don’t have a supply of potable water for yourself and your family. Anything that will force you to leave the security of your home during a disaster situation exponentially multiplies the chances that you will be added to the victim list.

    I would also suggest to look at prioritization in terms of potential product price changes and product availabilities. Usually these market changes are very predictable. For example, the increasing prices and sporadic shortages of long-term survival foods (and many other survival products) coincides with the recent media popularization of the “Survival Movement”. The dramatic price increases and availability issues with firearms and ammunition could be expected long before the presidential inauguration and current situation. Similarly, pandemic supplies are best obviously purchased BEFORE the WHO announces Phase 6 Pandemic level and the obvious product shortages. Think about what sorts of things would be in demand and short supply in various disaster situations ahead of time.

    Another way that I look at prioritization is balance. There are times that I go down one “hole” or another for sure but overall I try to keep balanced across the major critical areas of preparedness in both study, training and financial expenditure. I believe that it only takes one neglected critical preparation area to turn a well meaning “prepper” into a desperate refugee or victim. Water, food, communications, medical, energy production, shelter, self-defense, financial/bartering resources, reference materials, among others, all need to be addressed in terms of short, intermediate and long-term planning scenarios.

    Thanks to experienced authors like yourself, there are vast resources of information available on the internet. Taking advantage of the collective experience can be an extremely efficient method of minimizing the learning curves associated in every area as well as reducing costly purchase errors no matter how far along you may be. Be mindful as you go because there are also many sources of “bad” (read-dangerous) information out there. My advice is to take your time, explore and study the basics of each “Rabbit Hole” and proceed from where you are. Don’t be overwhelmed-just start from where you are and you will be better prepared than you were yesterday!
    -doctor zero

  21. I find that narrowing my focus helps me break down baby-steps easier. I started focusing for hurricanes — which came in handy! And because of that, when unemployment happened, it wasn’t as difficult as it could have been (it WAS difficult, just not as bad as it could have been if I didn’t have quite a bit of non-perishables on hand). Plus the unemployed part helped me learn first hand what things to expect should it happen again.

    Now I’m changing my focus a bit to include potential quarantine, using the hurricane and unemployment experience makes it easier because I have experience with those. Basically I need N95s (have 24) and medical supplies (OTC and herbals already on hand, and considering fish ABX for an affordable “just-in-case” the hospitals are full. Also in the “fish” category, I bought some tubing in case I need to hydrate PR).

  22. I find that narrowing my focus helps me break down baby-steps easier. I started focusing for hurricanes — which came in handy! And because of that, when unemployment happened, it wasn’t as difficult as it could have been (it WAS difficult, just not as bad as it could have been if I didn’t have quite a bit of non-perishables on hand). Plus the unemployed part helped me learn first hand what things to expect should it happen again.

    Now I’m changing my focus a bit to include potential quarantine, using the hurricane and unemployment experience makes it easier because I have experience with those. Basically I need N95s (have 24) and medical supplies (OTC and herbals already on hand, and considering fish ABX for an affordable “just-in-case” the hospitals are full. Also in the “fish” category, I bought some tubing in case I need to hydrate PR).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *