Most preppers focus on the short term. They stock up on goods and supplies but limit themselves to a few months’ worth of storage. This is understandable: most new preppers don’t have a whole lot of storage space and very few can afford to drop a wad of cash on the storage space and supplies and prep for the long haul. Our emergency response systems are also fairly sophisticated. Even massive disaster zones get at least their basic resources back within a few months. Limiting yourself to a few months with the assumption that you simply won’t need more than that makes sense.
With the increasing volatility of the world, however, it’s worth exploring your options for long-term prepping and future homesteading. If you’re used to thinking short term, however, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by everything you think you’ll have to do. Here are some tips for where to focus your efforts.
Prevailing wisdom says that the best source of power when you’re forced (or choose) to live off-grid is solar energy. They are definitely better and more sustainable than fuel powered generators (fuel eventually runs out, sunlight is always available). Of course, there will be times when your solar generators run out of juice so it’s good to have a backup system.
Most short term homesteaders focus on stockpiling batteries for their backup power. Unfortunately, most of our devices are built to run on AC power and lack a battery powered option. This is why one of your first purchases should be a sine wave converter. These are machines that convert the power output of batteries into AC power. These off-grid inverters act like generators but they’re smaller and easier to transport.
In the short term, a stockpile of bottled water is likely fine and should last you for a while. Eventually, however, those bottles are going to run out. In the event of an emergency or disaster, finding potable water is going to be challenging. This is why having a reusable filtering system is important.
You can make your own water filter using buckets, charcoal, charcoal, gravel, and sand. These will work well if you’ve set up camp somewhere with easily accessible water sources nearby. If you’re traveling, though, or if your closest water source is a long way away and you’ll need drinkable water for the journey there and back, you’ll want something that you can take with you.
For those who are planning on staying in their current homes, it seems like you’ve got this taken care of already. But what if you can’t? What if something happens to your home? Or what if circumstances force you to leave it for safer ground? In the event that this is you face this scenario, you’ll want to have some form of shelter that you can take with you. It needn’t be fancy but it does need to be easily portable. In most cases, a tarp or large piece of canvas can be sufficient (if you know how to use the materials around you to fashion it into a shelter–we’ll get to that in a minute). Alternatively, a small tent should do the job (one for every person in your family).
So far, we’ve focused on physical supplies that you’ll need but it’s important that you have a good set of survival skills. We don’t mean just that innate fight or flight response with which we are all born. It’s also good to know a few things about fending for yourself off the grid.
Do you know how to build a fire without matches? Do you know how to build a shelter out of natural materials? Do you know which kinds of shelter work best in cold environments (as opposed to warm environments)? Do you know how to track an animal? Do you know how to hunt–with and without a firearm? Do you know how to field dress something you’ve hunted? Heck, do you know how to tell the difference between plants that are edible and plants that are poisonous? Can you mend clothing without a sewing machine? Do you know how to dress basic wounds? These are skills every prepper should have. Take a wilderness or survival skills class so you can get some field practice. It is important to hone these skills before you have to use them.
Prepping for the long term can be incredibly overwhelming, but as long as you’ve got your basic needs covered you should be able to build from there. Focus on the basics: power, water, shelter, food, and basic survival skills. Use the tips we’ve shared here as a starting place for these things. The rest of your prepping should flow naturally from there.