Lately, I’ve seen lots of folks hoarding toilet paper and paper towels, rice, beans, hand sanitizer, and ramen noodles (huh?). You might think all these folks were stocking a prepper pantry. But, if they were true preppers, they’d already have what they need. Preppers don’t wait for something bad to happen. They know that bad things do happen and they’d prepare for it. Prepper pantries are the backbone of the prepper life. So, it’s time to learn how to start being a prepper.
Table of Contents
- So, what is a prepper pantry?
- Two types of pantry
- Good Locations for your Prepper Pantry
- Bad Locations for your Prepper Pantry
- Extreme Option
- Keep Your Prepper Pantry Organized!
- How to start being a prepper with blueprints for stocking your pantry
- What to stock in your pantry when you are learning how to start being a prepper: Rice and other grains
- Best ways to store food: freezer or pantry or both?
- How to start being a prepper with long-term storage solutions
- For what length of time should your stored food last if there were an emergency?
- What else you need beyond food if you are learning how to start being a prepper
- Optional nice things to include
So, what is a prepper pantry?
It is essentially just like your normal pantry, but more well thought out and made to last. It is the place where you store all the food you need in the event of a disaster that may keep you from being able to live normally. These foods would be shelf-stable for long periods of time; like dry rice and beans, canned goods, dehydrated or freeze-dried foods, etc. Having all of these types of foods stored up can help you through several different types of emergencies, such as hurricane, tornado, or earthquake.
Who can benefit from learning how to start being a prepper?
Absolutely anyone can benefit from creating their very own prepper pantry. You never know what could happen; and if you live in a particularly high risk or turbulent area, you will definitely not regret stocking one up. Prepper pantries are perfect for anyone that wants to be prepared for getting themselves and their family through a potential catastrophe. This is especially true if you have a large family with children or more elderly family members. You will want to make sure any dietary restrictions are met, as well as having foods any picky little ones will eat.
What is a prepper pantry if it doesn’t have the food you like!
For us, this would mean stocking up on gluten-free flour, shelf-stable non-dairy milk, and nuts. It is always a good idea to stock up on non-perishable foods that you and your family enjoy. It is not necessary to only prepare with MREs and bland calories. You can be creative with your shopping, as long as you make sure to have the supplies needed to prepare the things you get!
When will you need a prepper pantry?
Emergency situations of all kinds are good times to have a well-stocked prepper pantry. The more thought you put into your prepper pantry, the more prepared you will be. Your prepper pantry is the lifeline your family may need in the event of a life-altering situation. From an unexpected job loss, to a natural disaster, long-term power outage, or epidemic; your prepper pantry will be there to get you and your family through safely. And, even if grocery stores are open, you may not be able to get to one. Now that you know what a prepper pantry is and why you might want one, let’s take a look at the two types pantries to help you understand how to start being a prepper.
Two types of pantry
A working pantry
A working pantry is something you can use even if there is not an emergency going on. You would have a lot more in it than a regular pantry, though. Instead of just one jar of peanut butter like a normal pantry, you would have enough for maybe a month. (Or however long you have the space for) For this kind of pantry it is important to follow FIFO— “first in, first out” as you use it. Keep your oldest items in the front and restock from the back to avoid spoilage. This is a great way to learn how to start being a prepper.
This is the kind of pantry that my family has. We do not have the space to store food to feed six people for more than about 1-2 months. Because I sometimes grow, harvest, can, freeze, dry, and ferment food, a working pantry works best for us. But, I do not see too many disasters where I live. The biggest threat for us is a tornado or, as we’ve seen lately, limits on availability of some foods. Even if I don’t eat it all, it’s nice to be able to share with those who can’t get out.
What are the pros of a working pantry?
A working pantry is the easiest to start of the two types of pantry. All you need is a little patience to build up whatever you have room to store. It is a very customizable style of pantry and is really perfect for the beginner prepper to get their feet wet by learning to keep track of how much their household uses up over a set amount of time. You can try it out with some basics first and expand or experiment with other things as time goes by. As you get more comfortable with it, you can even try making batches of your own shelf-stable foods like we do!
What are the cons of a working pantry?
A working pantry is not usually conducive to a long-term plan, since it would generally have things you use regularly. These things can last a while on a shelf, but they are not necessarily non-perishable. A working pantry also tends to be very small, and at most, would only be able to provide basics for maybe a month. Think of the working pantry as the bare minimum of the two types of prepper pantries. But, maybe that’s all you need.
How to start being a prepper using a long-term pantry
The long-term pantry is what you build up with non-perishable supplies like MREs, dry rice/pasta/beans, canned goods, etc. You would buy these types of things in bulk, and they would stay stored in the prepping pantry until needed. This pantry is very important to keep organized, temperature controlled, and pest proofed. The supplies will need to be able to last for months, or even years before and after a disastrous event, such as an earthquake, hurricane, or tornado.
What are the pros of a long-term pantry?
A long-term pantry is stable for many years once you get it fully stocked. It is the pantry you would think of when you imagine a place like an emergency bunker. Giant cans, pallets stacked with supplies, and it all can last for years unopened. A long-term pantry is perfect for you if you live in a high risk geographic area where you think you might need a lot of necessities for an extended period of time. If you are committed to learning how to start being a prepper, this is your ultimate prepper pantry.
What are the cons of a long-term pantry?
Building up a long-term pantry can be very expensive, and you do not get very much say on the quality of the food you get. Food that lasts years is very, very processed and not exactly dietary restriction friendly. Those with food allergies, diabetes, or other conditions will likely find this extremely challenging. If you have a large family, it might be both cost and space prohibitive.
In addition, highly preserved foods often taste bad, so this can be especially difficult for families with children that will need to eat in a crisis. So, think carefully about this option. Also, you may end up hoarding unused food or “special” foods your children never eat because they grow up.
Once you know what type of pantry is best for you, it’s time for the next step in how to start being a prepper. You need to figure out where to put it.
Good Locations for your Prepper Pantry
Almost any space you find that you are not using is a great option for turning into a prepper pantry. This can be a closet, space under the stairs, your basement (if it is properly ventilated. Some basements regularly flood or feel musty), or even a spare bedroom. You can feel free to get creative with this part. There is no rule that says your prepper pantry has to all be in one place! You can have separate places for water, food, and other things with no problem. Just make sure they are accessible to everyone and meet the three qualifications of cool, dry, and pest proof.
For us, we store extra canned and dry food in unused cabinets in our dining area. We store extra paper products in a closet under our stairs and we have a stand alone freezer for bulk meat and other frozen foods. As I mentioned before, we have a working pantry, not a long-term emergency pantry, so this arrangement works for us. I recommend assessing your own risk of natural disasters (and possible job layoffs) before you plan as you learn how to start being a prepper.
If you are looking for inspiration, research creative organizational styles like those found in tiny homes. You are sure to find the perfect resources you can customize for your particular available space.
Bad Locations for your Prepper Pantry
When you are learning how to start being a prepper, you might be tempted to stuff your extra goods just about anywhere. But, attics, outdoors, bathrooms, and under sinks are terrible places to set up a prepper pantry. These places tend to have a lot of temperature fluctuation, can be very musty and humid, and are often where pests of all kinds like to hide. Keep any supplies you want to last away from these and similar places in your home. Food, and even non-edible supplies can become moldy and damaged in these environments. This would make them unusable and a complete waste.
This last idea is not the best or preferred idea. I don’t really recommend it except in extreme circumstances. But, if you simply cannot keep a prepper pantry in your home, you may consider renting a storage unit. This can be a large expense and not very practical for larger families, especially since you would need to pay extra to keep it climate controlled.
However, if this is the option you choose, it can be very convenient to keep your prepper pantry separate. It will prevent you from being tempted to use up your supplies in non-emergencies. And, if something terrible happens to your house, at least you will most likely still have your prepper pantry supplies. You will want to be sure this storage unit is within walking distance, though. A big con that comes with a storage unit prepper pantry is that it is not as easily accessed in a variety of situations. You have to be able to get to your supplies in order to benefit from them.
Keep Your Prepper Pantry Organized!
No matter where you decide to keep your prepper pantry, it must be well organized. Labels and delegated spaces are very important to have early on. Sticking to these protocols as you expand is absolutely needed. If you simply throw your supplies in any available space, it will be very difficult to track what you need, what you do not need, and what may be compromised over time.
The options are not as few as you may think when you are searching for the perfect place to set up your prepper pantry. All you need is a cool, dry place you can pest proof; and some organizational skills for the perfect prepper pantry recipe.
Now that you have a location, it’s time to get to the fun of how to start being a prepper! Choosing the food! It’s important to be organized about this. Building up a prepper pantry is not something that happens overnight. You need to have a plan in place for how to stock your pantry so it doesn’t have an excess of some items and not enough of others. Think about it as a long term investment in both money and time. By thinking ahead, you will have the right mix and be ready to take advantage of opportunities to add new foods economically.
How to start being a prepper with blueprints for stocking your pantry
The best way of how to start being a prepper, is to keep track of local sales, coupons, and even online deals. Buy one get one free sales, bulk buying, and strategic couponing can make creating your prepper pantry much easier and more efficient. This is the best way to economically stock up on those gluten free and diabetic foods. But, don’t fall into the trap of buying foods you never eat just because they are on sale. Start by building up a solid foundation, then add in some structure, and finally top it off with a ceiling goal.
What to buy first: The Foundation
Dry non-perishables are the perfect way of how to start being a prepper. Rice, beans, quinoa, couscous, pasta, and plain granola or oats are all examples of dry foods that will stay good as long as they are kept sealed and in a cool, dry, pest proof environment. These items are very shelf stable, and are high in calories, protein, and carbs—making them a great meal option in an emergency situation.
What to add in: The Structure
Once you have a good base of dry goods, you can begin to add in the canned goods, peanut butter, dehydrated meats, freeze dried fruits and veggies, and pickled items. Keeping these foods sealed is very important. They will only stay fresh as long as they remain unopened and stored in a cool, dry, pest proof area. These foods are great for a prepper pantry because they are shelf stable and highly nutritious since they have been preserved. They also will help you maintain a varied diet during emergency situations.
How to top it off: The Ceiling
Knowing when you have enough is just as important as every other part of growing a prepper pantry when you are learning how to start being a prepper. If you overstock on one thing, you will not have space for other things. Make sure your space is well prepared and organized for the most efficient yet maximum amount of supplies for yourself and your family. Have a cap-off point and stick to it. This is very important!
The line between prepping and hoarding starts here, and it is a common mistake when you are a beginner learning how to start being a prepper. After all, it sounds good–more must be better, right? Wrong. Be sure to delegate and label specific spaces for what you want, and keep your items within those spaces. Think of your prepper pantry as a miniature grocery store. If it is messy and disorganized, you will not know what you need, where to find it, or how much you have.
Growing your prepper pantry over time is a process that requires patience. Take your time and think it through, and you will have a pantry you can count on when you and your family need it most, customized to your needs and dietary restrictions. Now, let’s get in to the specifics of what to put in your prepper pantry!
What to stock in your pantry when you are learning how to start being a prepper: Rice and other grains
When you are learning how to start being a prepper, the foundation of your food plan should be rice, and maybe a few other grains. Dry rice will last indefinitely as long as it stays sealed and dry. It is also great for a prepper pantry because you can control how much of it you use at a time. Basmati, jasmine, and white rice have the longest shelf lives of all rice. However, brown rice only lasts up to six months in a regular pantry, so try to avoid using it as part of a long-term prepper pantry if possible. If you’re building a working pantry, then it’s fine.
Also, investigate where your rice is grown so you know it isn’t contaminated with arsenic or pesticides. Don’t buy rice from open bins. I used to do that to save on packaging and after a few weeks, I found little bugs in my rice! Also, if your budget allows, consider stocking other grains (and pseudo-grains) such as quinoa, millet, and oats in order to provide variety and extra nutrition in your diet.
Dry beans will last for at least two to three years in airtight containers away from moisture, heat, and sunlight. Keeping them dry is super important! Moisture will promote mold. However, keep in mind that the longer they are stored, the longer they will need soaking when it comes time to cook them. They must be soaked in a slightly acidic solution before they are cooked. Dry beans are a great source of nutrition if soaked properly and make great creamy sauces base, soups, stews, or dips. They also add versatility to meals. You can control the amount of beans you use up each day without compromising the rest of what you have stored.
Pasta: Another staple food when you are learning how to start being a prepper
Uncooked, dry pasta also lasts for years as long as it is kept sealed in a cool, dry place. Pasta is a good option for a prepper pantry because there are many varieties and ways to prepare it. You can also easily control the rate of use. The best way to store dry pasta is to transfer it from the plastic or cardboard it comes in, to an airtight container with an oxygen absorber. For most people, pasta provides a cheap source of carbohydrates, almost as cheap as rice. However, if your family has special dietary needs, taking advantage of sales and coupons helps you stock your pantry with pasta without overspending. I have found that Trader Joe’s and Aldi have the best prices on gluten-free pasta.
Different flours can actually last for different amounts of time past their expiration date. Whole wheat and self-rising flour have the shortest shelf life at six months past use date; rice flour, potato flour, and white flour can be used up to eight months past; corn flour is good for a year after; and corn meal has the longest shelf life after use date at two years. In this case, stocking up on the alternative flours may be what to stock in your pantry if you know how to bake with them. Just like other dry goods, flour needs to be stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. Another thing to keep in mind as you learn how to start being a prepper is that some flour can also go rancid. It takes on a weird, fermented flavor. Be careful!
Sugar and Spices
Flavoring your survival foods will be a great boon to you and your family in an emergency. Sealed, dried spices can last up to four years in your prepper pantry. Sugar actually never spoils in the right conditions. However, alternative sugars may be more vulnerable to moisture. So, keep that in mind if part of what to store in your pantry includes lower-glycemic options such as erythritol, maple sugar, monk sugar, or coconut sugar. Due to the strong smells that sugar and spices have, keep them in well sealed containers in a pest-proofed area. Keeping them dry and cool will be important for their longevity as well.
Cans that remain in good condition can last up to six years on a shelf. Good condition would mean no dents or deep scratches, and no big temperature fluctuations while they are being stored. As you learn how to start being a prepper, make sure to get a variety to keep up nutrient density and also possible ingredients for survival recipes. Keeping cans in a temperature controlled environment is very important. You need to keep them from spoiling or developing growth of botulism, especially if they are home-canned. Personally, I don’t buy too many canned goods from the store and prefer to grow my own food. I can the tomatoes I grow, and freeze the rest.
Unopened peanut butter can stay good for about two years. It can also be used for up to four months after being opened. Peanut butter is very shelf stable, and high in protein and good calories. It also tastes good as a sweeter treat or snack if you have kiddos you are prepping for as well. Other nut butters don’t store as well once opened and are more prone to turning rancid. They need to be refrigerated, so keep that in mind if you choose to substitute with almond, sunflower seed, or cashew butter.
Nuts and Seeds: Not necessarily a great idea when you are learning how to start being a prepper
Nuts and seeds are not known for having very long shelf lives. They will only last about six months unopened, and a year if frozen. And, those in open bins are almost always rancid. The oils in nuts are very sensitive and deteriorate soon after harvest if they are not at least refrigerated. If you really want to include them, you should invest in a small deep freezer to keep them fresher longer. However, it may be better to simply keep them in a rotated stock. Then, you use what you need and replenish as needed like you would with a “working pantry.”
Dried Fruits and Veggies
Dehydrated fruits and vegetables have incredibly long shelf lives when stored properly. Fruits can last at least five years, while vegetables can last over ten. Making your own dried fruits and veggies that will last this long can be quite the process. So, be sure you know what you are doing, and practice a lot if you want to do this yourself. If you are just learning how to start being a prepper, now is not the time to learn how to dry fruits.
When foods aren’t dried properly, they get moldy pretty fast! If you don’t want to do it yourself, store bought, vacuum-sealed packs of dried fruits and vegetables are perfectly fine. Dried produce has the same amount of nutrients as fresh, and more than three times the amount of fiber. This makes these products especially useful for a prepper pantry.
When you think of what to stock in your pantry, do you think of these foods? Pickling can preserve food for months depending on the way it was pickled. Like drying, pickling can be a tedious task that you need experience with in order to make food safe long-term. So, if you are just learning how to start being a prepper, this is not an activity for you! As long as the pickles remain sealed, pickled products do not need to be refrigerated; but you will need to refrigerate them after you open them. Therefore, you will need to make sure you have a way to do this in the event of an emergency. And, know that lacto-fermented foods always need refrigeration. However, they are more nutritious and last a very long time in the refrigerator.
These are all just the basics of what to stock in your pantry. If you simply use this as a guideline, you will be able to figure out the perfect foods to fill your prepper pantry with. You can also refer to this list to help you decide how you want to store, and how much you want to store of each thing.
Let’s consider the best ways to store all this food, how to choose containers, and whether you need a deep freezer.
Do you need a freezer? A special consideration for those learning how to start being a prepper
There’s nothing worse that diligently adding to your store of food only to have it become inedible by the time you eat it. You need to know the best ways to store food so that doesn’t happen. Proper storage of your supplies is what makes them able to last as long as they need to. Airtight containers are going to be your best friends as you build your prepper pantry.
It is also good to decide whether or not you want to utilize a freezer for certain things. If this is the case, you might want to make sure you have a backup generator of some kind to keep it running if you do not have electricity. I use my deep freezer to store food, but I don’t have a generator. However, I live in an area where the threat of losing electricity is rather low. Generators add a large expense to your storage efforts, so weigh your needs carefully.
Best ways to store food: freezer or pantry or both?
Well, you need a pantry no matter what. It stays stable whether you have power or not. All that you need for a quality pantry is for it to be in a cool, dry place where pests cannot access.
A freezer is a wonderful asset, but you will need a way to keep it running no matter what, i.e. a generator. As I mentioned, this is an expensive investment not everyone is willing or capable of making. And, not everyone needs to make that investment, either. Consider your needs and whether you can do without. However, if you can afford it, a deep freezer is one of the best ways to store food. And, it can help you keep fresh meats, nuts, seeds, cheeses, and much more on hand for emergencies.
Whichever option you choose, you must check on your supply regularly. Make sure all your pantry stock is in good condition with no dents, holes, or signs of mold in your food. Also check on the freezer if you have one, to make sure it is working properly and keeping your foods frozen. Keep it well maintained and free of accumulated ice, if possible.
Best ways to store food: choosing containers
BPA free plastic containers with locking seals are great for storing things like rice, pasta, beans, flour, sugar, and more. One thing I will note, especially for those learning how to start being a prepper, is that you need to make sure they are air tight. I thought mine were and well, I found moth larvae in my granola one day. So, check them regularly!
Almost any dry, shelf stable product can be stored in these types of containers. Assorted sizes also make it easy to store the exact amount you want/need of each thing. If you want extra peace of mind, you can utilize small oxygen and/or moisture absorbers. Thick, hard plastic or better yet, metal, will also keep mice and bugs from chewing through and getting to your food over time. (We have pet fancy rats and once when they were having play time, they chewed through the hard plastic lid of their food container, so…)
For example, pasta usually comes in thin cardboard boxes. Rodents and bugs chew through these easily. However, if you transfer that pasta to a sealed container like mentioned above, you keep the smell contained and the food is safe. Another great storage option is vacuum sealing. What we have done is buy fresh vegetables when they’re in season and on sale. Then, we cut them up and if needed, blanch them. Next, we vacuum-seal them in portion sizes and freeze them Some foods can last months when vacuum sealed, and the freezer extends the life of some fresh foods by years.
Know when to rotate
Depending on what you have filled your prepper pantry with, not everything will stay unspoiled for an indefinite amount of time. This is why knowing how to rotate supplies out is important. FIFO (first one in, first one out) is a good rule of thumb for this process. Maybe your family loves a certain kind of jarred pasta sauce—but it only lasts about six weeks on a shelf. You can build up a supply and keep the oldest jars in the front, while restocking from the back so you can use up the old ones before they expire. You will still be able to use the amount you need in an emergency, but it will not go bad just sitting on a shelf until that time.
How to start being a prepper with long-term storage solutions
If you only want to stock things that will last indefinitely, make sure you have enough space for them. These items are usually in bulk and come in pre-sealed containers. These foods can be stored for years at a time, and tend to be the bottom of the barrel as far as taste goes. The heavy preservation process can also be a problem if anyone in your family has dietary restrictions or allergies. This kind of long term food lacks a lot of variety. I really don’t recommend these foods, but I mention it in case this option appeals to you or is all that’s available to you. Be sure to keep these sealed until absolutely necessary if you get them. They are perfect for storing long term, but they need to remain sealed to last that long.
Knowing the best ways to store the food in your prepper pantry will give you a huge leg up on preparedness for nearly any situation. Use these guidelines to help your stores last as long as possible for whenever you need to use them.
How do you know when to stop adding food to your prepper pantry? Let’s take a look.
For what length of time should your stored food last if there were an emergency?
One of the most common questions you will come across as you build a prepper pantry is, “How do I know how much food to store?” or, “How do you know when enough is enough?” There is really no right or wrong answer to this question. It is completely up to you, and also depends on what kind of situation you are prepping for. To know how much you need for how long, you need to take into account the size of your family, as well as how much food and supplies they use on average each week.
For us and for where we live, that would mean storing enough for six adults to use over maybe three months. For you, it might mean storing enough for five adults and two children to last six months or longer. (Which might be challenging, of course.) Once you have a weekly average amount figured out, I highly recommend you use that to start building a two week supply pantry as a test. This will show you how much space these supplies take up, and how much more you can fit into the space you have available.
How much food to store based on how much a person eats every day
If you want to go the technical route on figuring out how much food to store, you can calculate based on calories. On average, a man will need about twenty-five hundred calories per day. The average woman will need about two thousand. For children, the number varies by age; for example, kids that have not reached puberty yet do not need as much as those that have. Your average six to twelve year old needs a minimum of sixteen hundred calories a day. Meanwhile, a child that has reached puberty can need anywhere from twenty-five hundred to three thousand calories to accommodate increased growth and activity. As you calculate and build up your stock of reserve food, make sure you are gathering nutritious calories.
As calculating caloric needs can get tedious, I prefer to calculate based on food quantity and serving size. How many people does one can of green beans feed? How many cups of rice feed your family at one meal? I feel this is far easier, but since kids grow, the amount they eat can change. So, you would need to adjust your needs over time to accommodate this. Avoid starchy snack foods, candy, and sodas. Instead, invest your space in rice, beans, protein bars, peanut butter, canned fruits and vegetables, and even vitamins and supplements, including stocking your herbal medicine cabinet. You want the most bang for your buck when it comes to creating a prepper pantry.
When you are learning how to start being a prepper you need to know how much a person drinks every day
Not everyone needs to store water and some folks may be better served by purchasing a filter. But, for some people, it would be wise to store water. The best rule of thumb to follow when it comes to staying hydrated goes like this…
You drink half your body weight number in ounces every day. So, if you weigh one hundred pounds, you should be drinking fifty ounces of water every day. Hydration is extremely important, so be sure to take into account how much water you and your family will need in order to survive the length of time you are prepping for. Water is also used for cooking and bathing, so set aside a reserve for these things as well.
Knowing how much you need to provide for each member of your family is the best guideline for determining the length of time for which you store food. This information is what you need to figure out how much you can fit into the space you have available to you. Then, you can get into the details of extra supplies depending on the disaster for which you are preparing.
As a prepper, the biggest and most immediate concern is starvation. However, if your family preparedness plan is to be complete, there are a lot more things you will need. Other than food, you need tools to prepare the food, medical supplies, ways to keep up with hygiene, and more! Keep reading for a comprehensive list of things to keep on hand beyond food.
What else you need beyond food if you are learning how to start being a prepper
Toilet paper and other hygiene products.
There’s a reason this is number one… Toilet paper is a very important part of our lives. Imagine using leaves, newspaper, or even your hand! No thank you. Make sure you know how much your family uses each month and have enough for the amount of time you are prepping for. In addition, don’t forget about feminine hygiene products, ladies. Otherwise, you might have to do what the natives did and spend your time sitting on a hole in the ground! All kidding aside, save yourself this embarrassing problem. Ditto for baby diapers. Of course, by the time disaster hits, you may not need those anymore, so monitor this closely. Keeping a store of these products will help keep a bit of normalcy through a bad situation, and it will save a lot of water that would need to be used without it.
Water: an essential part of a family preparedness plan
Dehydration is another top concern for preppers. Water is an absolute necessity, and we need it to drink, bathe, cook, and clean. Running water can also be used as a force to run a water wheel you can hook up to a generator. Ha! It has so many uses! So it is important to have as much of it stocked up as possible, unless you live near a large body of natural fresh water. Don’t have room for all that water? If you live in a temperate climate, what about setting up some rain barrels outdoors to collect fresh rainfall? Then, you only need to pour it through a filter. We have both a ceramic filter and two rain barrrels in our yard to help out with water requirements, especially non-drinking/cooking water.
You should also be sure to delegate between drinking, cooking, and bathing water and use with extreme prejudice. You should have enough drinking water for every family member to drink for the duration of the emergency for which you are planning. In addition to this, you need enough remaining water with which to cook, clean, and bathe. Suffice it to say, you can never really have too much water.
Power sources: an important consideration when learning how to start being a prepper.
If you don’t have a fancy water wheel generator like I mentioned above (Ha! Who does, right?), you are going to need alternative power sources. Batteries, solar panels, and/or a regular generator are all great to have. You need a way to provide light and regulate the temperature of your space. Extreme temperatures can kill as quickly as anything else, on top of causing lots of health issues.
Fire is great for providing light and heat, but if you are in a place that is not well ventilated, it could suffocate you. Fire also does nothing to help during any kind of temperature spike. You must be able to constantly feed a fire as well, and that can be very taxing on your supplies. Not very practical and also hard to control.
Propane or kerosene may be acceptable alternatives, but can be dangerous to store long-term. They also only fuel very specific items, such as grills, stoves, and lanterns. A less expensive and more storage-friendly option is the tried and true battery. Stock up on batteries for heaters, cooling fans, and light sources; get a solar powered generator—and a backup generator just in case; and make sure you have some kind of burner on which to cook your meals or boil water.
Personally, there’s no point in having two sets of cooking supplies, especially if you own well-organized, quality supplies in the first place. But, for some people, it may be a better way to go. Durability and versatility are key in choosing cooking supplies for your family preparedness plan. Cast iron cooking pans are great for this because they are very durable and conduct heat well. Just make sure that you have high heat proof gloves for handling your pans. You can find cast iron pots and pans in all shapes and sizes, so stock up and keep them organized, if not in your designated space, until you need them.
You will, of course, need knives, can openers, peelers, and cooking utensils as well. Do your best to find ones that are simple, durable, and all one piece. You do not want tools that will fall apart over time. You will also need plates, bowls, and eating utensils; so, get enough of those for everyone. I would recommend stainless steel for its safety and durability.
If you do choose to store away complete sets of things, I recommend checking local thrift stores, garage sales, and flea markets to find these extra supplies. Don’t break the bank!
Medical supplies: sometimes overlooked by those just learning how to start being a prepper.
You definitely need first aid supplies and backup medications for anyone that may need them. Stockpile these things carefully, and make sure you pay attention to expiration dates and interaction info. Most medications expire after about a year. Have bandages, disinfectant, compression wraps, gauze, stitching tools, antibiotics, expectorants, vitamins, and supplements. If you have herbal knowledge and grow your own, that can be especially helpful in an emergency. If you have access to some old crutches or other such helps, include them, too. You never know what could happen and prepping is all about being prepared for anything.
Optional nice things to include
Knowledge is power, and books cannot be deleted or drained of their battery power. Have books about local plants that are safe to eat, how to hunt and dress game, field medical care, etc. Most importantly, READ THEM. They are useless unless you have studied what you need to know from them. So choose the books you need, read them, and make sure everyone else in your family has access to them to be prepared as well.
Having a big toolbox can be a lifesaver in an emergency situation. Make sure you have one with all the basic hammers, screwdrivers, and wrenches; and build from that if you can. A dremel, soldering iron, drill, and more are also very useful. Be sure that you have plenty of nails, screws, nuts, bolt, and rope in case you need them as well.
There you have it, some things to keep on hand other than food when you are a prepper. Be inspired by this to take another look at your supplies and make sure you really have all the things you could need in the event of a catastrophe.