Prepping is a lifestyle, but the good news is it’s a lifestyle that doesn’t require a ton of money to get started with. Now, make no mistake, you certainly can spend a ton of money in your prepping efforts, should you choose to. Land purchases, shelter construction and resource stocking can add up in a hurry. However, you can also start small and build your prepping gear slowly. What follows is a list of the prepper gear you can’t do without. Pick up one item each week, or each month–whatever fits your budget. In no time you’ll have enough gear and resources to get you through a wide variety of situations in which you’ll have to rely 100% on yourself for survival. The prepper gear covered in this article is intended to be used for “hunkering down,” or “bugging in.” In other words, these are vital items you’ll need to survive and thrive in your home, as opposed to hitting the open road, or “bugging out.”
So with that, let’s get shopping….
Berkey Light Water Filter
Water is going to be your most important resource should the proverbial “crap” hit the proverbial “fan.” You’re not going to make it very long without it. Water sources are a topic for another article, but let’s assume that you’ve got a river, lake or rain barrel close by. You’ve got to purify the water somehow, even if that river water looks crystal clear. Trust me, giardia is not something you want to deal with in the middle of a global crisis.
That’s why a good water filter should be one of the first items you add to your prepping arsenal. There are a TON of options out there when it comes to water filters. The portable, backpacking “life straws” are very effective, but remember, we’re discussing prepper gear meant for hunkering down in place, so you may want to look at a larger filter to start, capable of producing enough potable water for the entire family.
My recommendation is the Berkey Light Water Filter. It’s certainly not going to be the cheapest item you’ll buy, but it’s probably the most important, so bite the bullet and invest in a tried and true survival product. Berkey is one of the most respected names in the world of water filtration. The Berkey Light was designed to be a lighter version of their larger stainless steel models. It’s meant to be portable and when it’s empty it only weighs 7 pounds. That’s a huge plus! The Berkey Light holds 2.5 gallons of water and can sustain groups of 10-20 people. It can filter out 99.99% of harmful viruses and bacteria, as well as other contaminants like chlorine and lead without the use of harsh chemicals. That means your water will not only be safe, but it will taste pretty damn good too! The Berkey Light will run you about $230.
Coleman Two-Burner Camp Stove
Food is your next big item on the survival list. There are plenty of MRE and grocery store staples out there that you can eat right out of the can or bag, but if you can hunker down and still enjoy a hot, delicious meal why wouldn’t you take advantage of it? A good camp stove can provide a source for cooking meals during almost any situation in which you find yourself without power or gas.
My recommendation is an old workhorse in the world of camp stoves–the battle tested Coleman two-burner camp stove. It’s the best gear a prepper can find for cooking in a survival situation. It’ll boil water, handle two good sized skillets at the same time and with a little creativity and a cast iron Dutch oven you can even do some baking. Plus, it’s fairly portable. Just make sure you also stock up on fuel canisters. Expect to pay around $50.
Hand Crank Radio
Midland ER310 Emergency Radio
Now that you’ve got food and water you should be able to survive for a bit. However, staying up to speed with the outside world and what’s going on with whatever catastrophe you find yourself riding out can be pretty important too. Adding an emergency radio to your kit is one of the most valuable investments you can make.
There are countless options and brands of emergency radios, but for my money you can’t go wrong with the Midland ER310 Emergency Radio. You can pick up AM/FM transmissions, as well as any NOAA weather reports, plus if you get bored with news of the ongoing doom outside, you can listen to some MP3s via the USB port. The ER310 has a built in flash light that is also programmed with the Morse SOS code. It comes with rechargeable batteries that last a staggering 31 hours on a single charge. A hand crank and solar panel round out the charging options. There’s a built in USB port for charging your other devices, and this sucker has a built in ultrasonic dog whistle to help search and rescue teams should you find yourself incapacitated. Plus, it’s built like a tank. Depending on where you shop, you can expect to pay $50-$75 for the ER310.
First Aid Kit
Elite First Aid Fully Stocked GI Issue Medic Kit Bag
A prepper’s first aid kit is an incredibly personal thing, and many choose to build their own kits from scratch. I personally keep a large tool chest in the house that’s dedicated to first aid supplies, plus a few premade bags handy for bug out situations. For the purpose of this article, we’ll assume you’re looking to purchase a fully stocked kit.
Check out the Elite First Aid Fully Stocked GI Issue Medic Bag. It’s quite literally battle tested by our nation’s military, and comes stocked with enough supplies to handle almost any medical emergency you’ll encounter around the house during situations where professional medical care might not be an option. Plus it’s portable, which is a feature preppers tend to appreciate. This fully stocked kit will run you right around $150.
The cold, hard truth is that in times of chaos, humans will do some pretty drastic things in order to survive, up to and including trying to steal or take by force all of the things you worked so hard to stockpile for you and your family. You’re going to want to prevent them from taking your things, and as nice as that tactical folding knife in your pocket is, it’s probably not enough to thwart a bunch of looters who are hell-bent on taking your gear.
Preppers and survivalists normally keep a fairly sizable cache of weapons, and each has a purpose. However, if you’re just starting out and are looking for a first buy, I recommend a shotgun, as it’s a multipurpose tool, easy to use and teach others to use, and does a hell of a good job at making would be looters think twice about the way they’re living their lives. More specifically, I recommend the Mossberg 500 12 gauge pump.
The Mossberg 500 is an affordable firearm, and you can use a variety of ammunition for various tasks, from buckshot and slugs for taking down large game and self-defense purposes, to birdshot for acquiring smaller food sources. You can even use non-lethal rounds should you feel like sending a strong message to assailants instead of taking their lives.
I like the Mossberg 500 because you can equip it with countless additional features, and I love that it has an ambidextrous thumb safety, making it a good “door gun” for everyone in the family or survival group. Plus, 12 gauge ammunition should be one of the easiest to acquire in an emergency situation. Depending on the model, a Mossberg 500 will run you about $300-$500.
Remember, no matter which weapon you stock your arsenal with, practice and train with it.
Plano Heavy-Duty Sportsman’s Trunk
Congratulations! You’ve acquired some gear to get you started down the path of being a full-fledged prepper. The last piece of gear I’d recommend is one that’s often overlooked. I suggest keeping all of your gear organized in heavy duty storage containers. You can stack them in closets and label the contents. If an emergency situation arises you can drag them out into the main living area so everyone has access, or if you’re gonna bug out and have room in the vehicle you can always take them with you. There are a ton of container options you can look at, but I like the Heavy Duty Sportsman’s Trunk by Plano. It’s durable, locks and has wheels for easy moving. It’ll cost you around $50.