071: The Fundamentals of Realistic Prepping

Basic areas to focus on for realistic preppers
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Do you ever get frustrated trying to explain the fundamentals of preparedness to people? Shows like Doomsday Preppers have done us a bit of a disservice because it shows the extremes, rather than realistic prepping for everyday people like you and me.

What Is Emergency Preparedness

When working to understand something, it’s usually best, to begin by defining whatever it is you want to understand better.

In this case, Dictionary.com defines preparedness as “the state of being prepared; readiness.”

In other words, preparedness is your ability, based on instincts, knowledge, and personal effort to be able to face the adversities of life with skill and confidence. These things combined help improve your chances of successfully overcoming the situation. 

That sounds like a lot and can be kind of overwhelming. But if you focus on realistic prepping, then it feels a lot more manageable. Just think about the stories of people who weren’t prepared and how you don’t want to be one of them.

Why is Realistic Prepping Essential

Also, just as important as understanding what preparedness is, we need to understand why realistic prepping is essential.

The reason why emergency preparedness is important is two-fold.

First, helping others who are in need is a crucial part of preparedness that humans have practiced throughout our history.

The fact is that more often than not, we, as preparedness-minded people end up helping others out during disasters and other difficult times.

Why is that?

Well, that’s because we tend to be more aware, more ready, and better able to avoid personal disasters that others may not.

Personal Survival

Secondly, when we are personally involved in a difficult predicament, we’ve moved into the arena of preparedness survival. It’s time to use our skills, knowledge, and instincts to successfully move past or deal with the problem, whatever it may be.

This is when all of the time you put into your preparedness will pay off. You will be successful at minimizing or altogether avoiding the effects of a disaster.

The Fundamentals of Realistic Prepping

When it comes to the fundamentals of preparedness, there are five critical areas, which are:

  1. Mindset
  2. Situational Awareness
  3. Safety
  4. Shelter
  5. Sustenance.

We’ll be covering each one of these in more depth in future posts but let’s take a quick look at these topics.


Your prepper’s mindset is more important than any gear you can carry or supply you can stockpile. Briefly, your prepper’s mindset encompasses the knowledge and skills that you have acquired to help you through a crisis. Educating yourself about the most likely disasters in your area and getting your family involved is also part of your mindset. Learning to make quick decisions by walking through the “what ifs” is key to your prepper’s mindset. This is realistic prepping because it costs little to nothing to develop.

Situational Awareness

One of the most important factors in realistic prepping is your situational awareness. Being observant about the things going on around you, the people, and subtle shifts in mood can help you escape before a bad situation happens. It can also help you to avoid needless accidents because you’ve paid attention and side-stepped the danger. (We’ve all seen those videos of people so engrossed in their phones they walk right into a wall or a telephone pole.)


Safety encompasses a lot. It covers our personal safety when we’re out and about, either alone or with our loved ones. It can also cover the basics of home security, letting people know where you’re going to be and when you’re expected to return and avoiding dangerous situations when possible. Safety also encompasses understanding and mitigating the risks of the most likely dangers in your area, whether those dangers are natural disasters or other people.


Shelter is about more than just our home. There are many layers to shelter when it comes to realistic preparedness. If you’re at home when disaster strikes, do you have a way to stay warm if it’s a winter storm? If you are away from home during an emergency do you know how to create a shelter for yourself? Shelter can even encompass the appropriate layers of clothing necessary for a weather emergency.


When people think about prepping, usually the first thing they envision are rooms piled to the ceiling with canned goods and 5-gallon buckets of food. Storing food for emergencies is very important and can be done on a budget. Check out this 3-layer food plan for a budget-friendly way to start building your stockpile.

The Bottom Line on Realistic Prepping

While the disaster movies are super-exciting and filled with doom, everyday, realistic prepping is about meeting our day-to-day needs in an unusual situation. Your emergency might not be worthy of Hollywood, but if you lose your job or face a winter power outage, you’ll be glad to be well-prepared for it.

Today’s quote is from Petra Nemcova. Petra states;

“We cannot stop natural disasters, but we can arm ourselves with knowledge: so many lives wouldn’t have to be lost if there was enough disaster preparedness.”

Additional Resources:


Stay safe, 

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