47 Prepping Tips that Experts Wish They Knew When They Got Started

I think you’ll agree with me when I say:

Prepping is hard, expensive, and confusing.

There is SO much information out there from articles, videos, books, podcasts, and who knows what else. We have a Freedom Prepper Facebook group, and the other day I asked the members what they wish they knew about prepping before they got started.

The reason for this, is because regardless if you’re a noobie prepper reading this, or an expert, there are things that we will always forget or overlook. I thought it would be a great idea for the members of the group to throw out things they wish they knew before they got started.

Real quick before we jump in to their answers, if you’re not a member of our group, come on over and join us, we ar 60,000+ members strong and growing, IF Facebook isn’t your cup of tea, I get that, privacy is a big concern for most of us, we also have our own private social platform, you can join it here Freedom Prepper Community, it’s free, very similar layout to Facebook, but there are zero website or data trackers there.

So come on over and join us on one or both platforms, and join in on the conversations.

Get a Head Start with Your Preps with These Tips

There are 48 getting started tips. There are some that have a little crossover, with others. As I list them out, I will also give my two cents on each one to give a little more indepth persective as to why this is important, espeically as you get started in prepping.

I hope you enjoy this post, and if you do, be sure to share it on every social media you’re part of.

1. Stay Healthy

If you’re not healthy you chances of survival drop considerably. If you end up bugging out, which you likley won’t, but if you do, you’re going to have to carry a lot of gear, and that gear is heavy. It’s always a good idea, in shape or not, to do some practice runs with your gear. Even if it’s just loading up your bug out vehicle and trecking off for a bit.

2. Don’t just listen to people who tell you what you need.

What we mean by this is, there are know it alls in the prepping world, and they will throw lists of stuff they think you need. The problem is they may not know you and what your needs are. Look for people who are willing to help you figure out your needs, then start devising a list of what you need in your survival gear.

3. Knowledge

I know this sounds simple, and one of those “duh” answers. But in the prepping world not all knowledge is created equal. You need to do a lot of research on each topic of preparedness to get a good understanding of it, and then you can take a look at how it fits in to your prepping needs, and how to implement it.

4. Cycling Food Supplies

I remember back in my food service days we had a saying, FIFO, first in first out. This was for all perishable items. When you buy food that you already have, you always put the newest stuff towards the back, so that the oldest gets used first. Taking this a step further in preparedness, because you may not need your survival food for years, decades and if you’re lucky ever. But if 25 years down the road the SHTF and you open your food supply and it’s outdated and not edible, you’re up the creek without a paddle. So FIFO your survival food, but once you have a good amount, on hand you can start eating it the oldest of it, replenishing with new, and rotating the stock.

Legacy Food Storage

5. Be Practical and Realistic with Your Living/Storage Situation

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could all just dig a bigger basement, add another underground bunker, or build a pole barn just to house our preps? For most of us that just isn’t feasible. So it’s important to look at your needs, and how much space you have available to store items, and start planning wisely. Sit down and go over what you realistically need, and how you will fit that in the space you have.

6. Less is Often More

When we get into prepping, most of us tend to go overboard, buying and stocking everything we can get our hands on. Again, like I said earlier, take a good look at what you have, and what you think you need, and start by making a list. By stocking only what you need, and not going overboard with everything you will have more room for the important things.

7. Define What You’re Prepping For

There are hundreds of situations we can think of to prep for. I think of new scenarios every day, it can be exhausting. But there are certain things that are very unlikely I will run into. Like a tidal wave or tsunami. I live in the middle of the country, so the likelihood of me meeting up with those isn’t high, it’s not impossible, but I think I can skip over them when I look at the situations I’m prepping for.

8. Learn First, Then Spend

This is a big one. I know it sounds simple. So many people flip the switch to start prepping they take little time to educate themselves on what they are preparing for and how to actually go about it. Instead they download the first “Ultimate Bug Out Bag Guide” list, and go out and buy all the things. Just to realize there are things they will NEVER need or use.

9. Mice WILL Be a Problem

This is one thing I overlooked and didn’t think of. Pests are everywhere. Whether it be mice, rats, ants, or any other furry or creepy crawler, they will find their way into anything with the right amount of determination. This isn’t just related to food. Yes, they will sniff the food out and go for it, but they can also chew holes in your blankets and clothes, making them useless if you are trying to stay dry and warm.

10. Start Early

I know it’s kind of self explanatory, but when you want to do something in life, whether learn a new skill, gain as much knowledge about a particular topic, start a business, or be prepared, its obviously better to start as early as you can. Many people will sit and contemplate things for awhile. When it comes to prepping, sitting and thinking isn’t going to get you anywhere, it can literally be the difference in life and death. Failing to prepare, is preparing to fail ~ Benjamin Franklin.

11. Buy Ammo

Another probably obvious answer. But I don’t suggest just buying ammo. You’re going to need multiple types of ammo. You will need practice ammo, hunting ammo, self defense ammo. I would go further and say, buy more than what you think you’ll need. One, you can never have too much ammo, and two, you can also use it to barter with. Trade for things you need that you might have forgot or over looked.

12. Learn Skills

Skills are one of those things that stick with you as long as you practice them over time. They can’t be stolen from you, or forgotten for the most part, again as long as you practice them. Try to specialize in something. Find a skill you can get really good at, this will give you something to barter with later.

13. Keep Learning

We just discussed learning skills. I said specialize in something. That doesn’t mean stop there. You can be a master of a trade, and a jack of all others. The more you know, the more valuable you’ll be when the SHTF, and the better equipped you’ll be to fix things, make things, build things, etc.

14. Prepare to Be Lonely

This one kind of sucks, but is something to think about. You can plan on bugging out or bugging in with a group, whether it be family, friends, or people you trust to be part of your survival group. You can plan and prepare to be in a group, but at the end of the day, you need to realize there’s a good chance you might be alone during this event. This means going back to learning skills. The more you learn the better prepared you’ll be to do all the things on your own. Also, stock things that will keep you occupied in downtime. You may not have a lot of downtime, but when it’s time to settle for the evening, things get quiet and that’s when the loneliness starts to settle in, and will mess with your mind. So prepare for that.

15. Buy ONLY Food You and Your Family will Actually Eat

This is a big one. I know all you die hard preppers out there are saying “hey if you’re hungry enough…” yea that’s all fine and well until you’re actually in a situation where you are faced eating snails, bugs or who knows what else you find. Lets be realistic you are not going to eat snails, unless you’re a die hard lover of fried snail. Now if the situation arises, where you are stranded on the bank of a creek, no food, and literally only what you can find, yea I get that. But right now you have the opportunity to stock food you actually enjoy, and will actually eat, along with anyone else that is in your survival group, specifically young children.

Legacy Food Storage

16. Shop Around for the Right Product(s)

Don’t settle for everything that goes on sale, or that cheap piece of gear that will break as soon as you drop it. I know, China makes the best cheap gear on the planet, but it’s not necessarily the best gear. Look, even our Storm Protection Agency sells products sourced from China. BUT…they did research, they bought from several manufactures, and went with the ones that passed the different stress tests put on the products. So, there’s nothing wrong with “Made in China”, hell that’s the majority of the stuff these days, but listen you have to do your research, make sure that it’s the product you’re looking for, it will do what you need it to do, look at reviews, and make sure it’s going to last.

Airsoft Tactical Vest

17. Buy REAL Toilet Paper

WOW…this was a big one this last year, well depending on when you’re reading this. The year 2020, you remember the year of the “pandemic”, the Corona Virus, COVID-19 and all it’s variants. Anyway, toilet paper was absent from the shelves for most of the year. The only ones that didn’t suffer were the ones that had been buying toilet paper like clockwork every single week, whether you need it or not. Because let’s face it you will ALWAYS need toilet paper. Don’t buy the cheap crap, and don’t buy the wipes. The cheap stuff is like John Wayne, it don’t take crap of no body. The wipes will dry up over time, and be useless. Go out there buy you some nice soft two ply, add a few extra rolls to your stockpile each week, and enjoy a nice soft clean wipe when the time comes during a SHTF situation.

18. Identity Enemies and Threats Early On

Enemies and threats are going to be a huge concern when the SHTF. But if you plan ahead, you can be ready. Learn what to look for, how to read people, and ultimately just don’t trust anyone. Almost everyone has an ulterior motive and will want something from you, whether you give it to them or they take it. But look, threats aren’t only in the form of people. You have to worry about wildlife, pests, natural disasters, structure failures, lots of things. You don’t have to wait for a SHTF situation to look for enemies or threats. You can start seeing things far in advance. That way you know who and what to look out for when the time comes.

19. Don’t Over Think, Plan Properly

Over thinking gets us in a lot of trouble. I know, I do it too. I am constantly thinking of the what ifs every day. I run scenarios through my head constantly. Almost always overthinking situations. If you plan properly, you don’t have to worry about over thinking when the SHTF. You’ll be ready for just about everything that gets thrown at you.

20. Never Tell People What You’re Doing

This one can be tricky. IF you plan on going it alone, be prepared to go it alone, and be prepared to do EVERYTHING on your own. I know a lot of us have that mindset that we can do anything. Which in some instances might be true. But when you’re in a survival situation, things can get tricky, they can take a toll on you, and wear on the body and mind. Those things can be hard to cope with. So, don’t tell anyone and go it alone. Or you can tell a select few, but be very selective who you trust. What are they going to bring to the table, what skin will they have in the game, what are they willing to do to help you and the group.

21. Don’t Listen to the Morons Who Think They’re Going to Bug Out to the Middle of No Where and Survive

Everyone says they are bugging out to the woods and surviving on the fruits they scavenge. Most people will be better off bugging in, hunkering down in their homes, or their bug out location, instead of heading off to the woods and trying to survive on what they can carry and find. It’s A LOT harder then most of us realize. Don’t kid yourself, if you think you’re going to carry your heavy bug out bag, and go off into the wilderness and survive, think again. Yes, of course a select few of you would be fine, but for the majority of us, its just not going to happen. So, make sure your home is ready, if you have a bug out location, make sure it’s stocked and ready, and easy to get to.

22. Gear is Less Important than Physical Fitness and Good Health

You can have all the gear in the world, but if you don’t know how to use it, or can’t carry it, it’s no good to you. If you aren’t in good health, gear doesn’t matter because you’re probably not going to make it that long anyway, so thanks for stocking up all that gear for the next people to find. I know, that’s a little harsh, but its the truth. Start taking care of yourself right now. It’s not hard to lose weight, it’s hard to discipline yourself to lose weight. If you eat right, and start moving more, the weight will fall off. Start easy, try going a day without sugar, then another day, and another. Cutting sugar will make a huge difference in your health. You can get a good no equipment workout done in just 10 minutes. This is one of my favorites:

23. Gonna Cost More than You Think

Prepping is expensive, we’ve covered several times on how to save money on different areas of preparedness. But there are only so many ways to cut corners, or areas to cut costs. Lots of places, like our Storm Protection Agency, have discounts on products when you buy more than one. But some areas you have to realize are just going to be expensive. Firearms and ammunition seems to very rarely go on sale, and even when they do, are still rather expensive in comparison to other survival products. So plan your purchases, save money and get the gear that you need the most.

24. People That Share They are Preppers, Probably aren’t the Ones to Listen to.

This one is most likely true, though not in every case. I would say though, the ones that advertise they are preppers, are probably the ones that are more tacticool than tactical. They like to show off their guns, ammo stockpile, storm cellar stacked to the ceiling food (likely most won’t eat). So I advise staying away from those types, and if that’s you, then stop doing that.

25. More PPE

In the year that was COVID, going on year number two, its never been more apparent that PPE (personal protection equipment) is vitally important. Gloves, masks, sanitizer, N95s, gowns, extra sheets, goggles, everything that you might find in a hospital room or doctors office, stock up on that. You can never have too much, if you do find yourself in abundance, then you have items great for bartering later.

Click now to get PREPARED!

26. More Antibiotics (Natural or Medical)

Sickness is going to run rampant when the SHTF. People are going to have infections, allergic reactions to things, stress, and so on. If you can get your hands on some antibiotics, do it, like now, and keep them. They are good far beyond what the date on that little bottle says. (Side note I am not a medical professional, so consult a doctor before listening to this advice). I know lots of people who buy fish antibiotics, or get them from a vet for their animals. I’m not saying these are the same and have the same effects…but they do.

27. Do What You Can, Do Something, the Government won’t be there to Help You.

This should be more evident than ever before. We are going through the second year of a “pandemic”, one that could’ve been stopped within months of its beginning, but here we are none the less. Anyway, when the SHTF the government is going to be concerned with one thing, protecting itself, and ensuring all the millionaires and billionaires get to safety. They aren’t going to give two shits about you and I. So take heed to these tips, the ones above and the ones below, start doing something now, like RIGHT NOW, to make yourself better prepared.

28. Buy a Good Solid Knife and Learn to Use it.

Good knives are hard to come by. I have a few, the thing is there is such a large variety of knives out there, it’s hard to say “hey this is a good one” or that one. It all comes down to what you most comfortable with. You need to hold it, open it, close it, move around with it, see how it feels in your hand. Is it too big, too small, too heavy? Lots of considerations go into picking the right knife for you. Take your time, don’t just go out and buy whatever your buddy says you should buy.

29. Learn and Write Down All Medical Herbs

This is a really good one. When it comes to herbs a lot of times it’s hard to decipher what is an herb and what is just a useless weed. There are several great books on the topic, this is one of my favorites. Learn the herbs, know what they look like and what they are good for.

Here’s a great video that goes over the top 15 medicinal herbs and their most common uses.

30. 2 is 1, 1 is none.

Well this one takes me way back to the beginning of my prepping days. 2 is 1, 1 is none has been around for as long as I can remember. What it means is you should have double of everything. If something fails, you have a backup. Should you have more than 2? Sure, if you can afford it, have the space and it doesn’t take away from getting something else you need go for it.

31. Have Few Animals, Stock Up on Cheap Penicillin, Things to Fight Disease.

Now this can be taken a couple different ways. One, have few pets, the more pets you have the more mouths you have to feed, the more things you have to care for, and the more weight you have to move. However, it could mean, have a few farm animals. Things that will produce useful resources, such as eggs, milk and even wool to make things. You can stock up on some cheap penicillin to keep you and the animals healthy in the case of diseases. Here are our top recommendations for live stock to have for a homestead.

32. Facebook IS NOT the Best Source of Information and/or News.

Probably should lump in most social media sites here like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, I will exclude YouTube as it is a great resource for information if you know the right channels to follow and watch. Our little corner of Facebook by means of the Freedom Prepper Group is a great resource for useful information and for getting ideas and feedback. But it too can have some misleading information, or trolls who would rather make fun and insult rather than try to help, though we do try to boot them when we see it. Books are your best source of information. Most information found inside is forever useful. The best way to build specific shelters, the usefulness of herbs, how to tie knots, that information will never change. So start building your prepper library. You can start by grabbing our Natural Disaster survival guide, its free by the way.

33. Be Patient

Understand that being ready, being prepared takes time, it’s not something that you will be able to do overnight, in a week, a month or even a year. Take steps at least each week to ensure you are better prepared than you were the week prior. Make a list of food, equipment, gear, anything that you feel you need to buy to be prepared, and budget it out. Food, water and hygiene items are things that you can buy and add to your stockpile every week, guns, ammo and the more expensive gear are things that you will really have to set a budget for, add to it each week, and when you get enough, buy it.

34. Start Growing Food Now, Don’t Wait Til You Need it.

If growing food is part of your plan, then you need to start growing now. If you have the space, get your garden growing. There is a learning curve when it comes to growing food, so you will want to learn as much as you can, you will make mistakes along the way, but if you start now you’ll have a big head start for when you actually need the food. You can grow food even if your on a budget, or if you’re in a small space as well.

35. Learn EMT and Paramedic Skills

As we discussed earlier, skills will be in huge demand, learn as many as you can, master them if you have the time. EMT and paramedic skills will be vitally important, both for the safety and well being of your group, and those around you, but also if someone needs help, you will have the skills to help them.

This channel has tons of videos on EMT and paramedic skills. https://www.youtube.com/user/EMTprepLLC

36. Don’t Rely on Canned Food, Get Long Term Survival Food

Canned food is great, it lasts far longer than the date on the can, it’s cheap, you can add a few cans to your cart each week without hurting your budget. But, its heavy, takes up a lot of space and isn’t easily transportable. For that we recommend long term survival food. There are lots of great companies out there to go with, our favorite it Legacy Foods. They have a wide variety of foods, and kits for pretty much any budget. If you can add one of their kits to your budget every month, you’ll have plenty of food in no time.

Legacy Food Storage

37. Just Start, Take that First Step

Taking that first step is the most important. So many people walk around, with their heads down, staring at their phones. They are blind to what’s happening around them, they think preppers are crazy tin foil hat lunatics. They don’t have a care in the world, but as soon as disaster strikes, they are the first ones looking for help. So make a plan, write it down, list it out, budget it, and take the first step to becoming prepared.

38. You Don’t Need as Much as You Think, Cover the Basics First.

When you start getting into prepping, and you take to the internet to start learning, you will quickly be drowning with information, a lot will be misinformation. They will tell you how much of everything you need. But the best things to do is figure out what you actually need. There are calculators out there will tell you how much food, water and supplies you need based on your group. Check them out, and go from there.

39. Buy 3 Good Reliable Guns

This was a topic the other day in our Facebook group. I asked the group what they thought were the best 3 guns for prepping, and while some said things like “the ones you have with you” or “I’m not telling you, Facebook and the government what I own”, most answers were a rifle, a shotgun and a handgun. Many offered thoughts on the different calibers each should be, but I feel like that is up to the individual gun owner, what they are comfortable with and what they can handle. You can see the Facebook group post here.

40. Grow Mooring Trees (Super Food)

I have to be honest, until I read that, I had never heard of a mooring tree, I had to look it up and of course found a great YouTube video on them. We’ve talked super food on the site before, usually in the form of making your own pemmican, but never in the form of a tree. If you’re interested in learning more about the tree, here’s the video I found.

41. Buy the Best You Can Afford

This one can be tricky. I’ve actually lived this advice pretty much my entire life. You only buy the best you can afford. Never go all out and buy the most expensive top of the line thing if it’s going to set you back, break your budget, or you have to finance it (unless its a very large purchase). I’m not here to talk prepper financing with you, we’ll save that for another day.

42. Learn from People Who have Lived it

This is another big one. If you no people who have lived through disasters, war, depression, shortages, then you have a knowledge goldmine on your hands. Listen to them, they likely have stories of what it was like and how they got through things. Listen, take notes, and learn from them.

43. Mental and Physical Health is Important

Overall health is important. If you are really out of shape, then the likelihood of you carrying a heavy bug out bag is pretty low. Most bug out plans will be very physical, and something you will need to practice with the full weight several times. Mental health can be just as bad. The worse it gets, the more harm you can do to yourself or others around you. If you get too depressed, you could get to the point that you’re just ready to give up. If that’s you, get some help and learn how to cope. If you’re out of shape, scroll back up and check out some of the beginner work out videos we shared.

44. Turn Off the TV

This is a big one for me. I don’t watch much TV as it is, I just don’t have the time. Honestly, I’d rather stay busy than watch tv. Especially now days, where everything is negative and political. You can’t turn the tv on without hearing bad news over and over again, and living in the prepping world we get to hear negativity enough as it is.

45. Live Like its Already Happening

Something I do everyday, probably too often honestly, but I run scenarios through my head several times a day. I try to think of everything that can happen, I think of different ways to react, things to do for each one, that way, I’m a little bit more prepared. Some people go as far as to live like it’s already happening. I’m personally not there yet, but if you can live on a homestead with renewable energy, growing your own food, full sustainability, then go for it.

46. Make Financial Sacrifices Now

I actually love this one, not just for prepping, but for everyday living. I’m a big fan of Dave Ramsey, and believe in a lot of what he says when it comes to finances. Make the money cuts now, invest where you can, get everything in order, and you’ll be way more prepared to live later, especially if everything goes to shit.

47. Get Cooking Tools that Don’t Require Electricity

One of the biggest threats to the United States is someone attacking our very fragile grid system. Most people fear an EMP attack, if you want to learn about surviving an EMP attack, read this article. But whether is an EMP attack, hurricane, tornado, earthquake, or any other natural disaster, you need to be able to cook without electricity.

That’s it, that should be enough to keep you plenty busy for quite awhile. Go through this list, see where you can make improvements to your prepping plans, take notes for things you want to add or do to get better prepared, and get to it.

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