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The Ultimate Preppers Checklist for Non-Preppers

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Do you consider yourself to be a prepper? Or maybe you might be one of the people that thinks preppers prepare for doomsday and zombies?

I assume before 2020 we may have all thought those preppers were a little crazy, now we’re searching how to prepare for the SHTF scenarios, right?

If you want to become better prepared, where would you start? We’ve compiled the Ultimate Preppers Checklist for Non-Preppers to set you on the right path. 


Prepper or Homesteader? 

There is a long standing debate about preppers and homesteaders. Some say that all homesteaders are preppers, but not all preppers are homesteaders.


A homesteader is someone who purchases a piece of land in the country, works the land, grows food, raises livestock, cans their harvest, and bakes from scratch. Homesteaders are generally a jack of all trades and will help a neighbor out when needed.

They are prepared for any emergency and know how to work a gun and use a knife, not to mention act as a farm vet.

They don’t think about doomsday, because they know things happen every day and they just deal with each problem as they come. 



A prepper on the other hand always thinks the end is near. The end of life as we know it. They spend a small fortune on getting ready for the next thing they believe is going to try and wipe out mankind.

From a comet to zombies and everything else. Most all preppers have a B.O.B (Bug Out Bag) and are ready to either leave at a moment’s notice or they have built a small fortress that can withstand an attack.

Very few preppers focus on working the land, raising livestock, or practice putting up the harvest from the garden. Preppers are prepared to live on MRE’s (meals ready to eat) and they know livestock would slow them down or make them a target. 

Somewhere in The Middle

Our family lives in the mountains on over forty acres and we are completely off grid. We work the land, raise livestock, can, prep for anything, and prepare for emergencies.

While we would fall in the latter category with staying and defending our land, we don’t necessarily think we’ll be defending it against alien life forms. Then again, never say never.

Prepping is not a matter of living in fear but living to be prepared. There are no certainties in life and we need to be prepared so our family doesn’t go without basic necessities. We live in a very fragile economy, relying on many imports to support our quality of life.

If anything good has come from the past year, it’s that we’ve become acutely aware that we have a problem. We rely far too heavily on those that provide us with the things we need to maintain our standard of living. The status quo needs to change. 


What Should Every Prepper Have?

As I mentioned earlier, some preppers are prepared for staying at home and ‘bugging in’ if things started going south and others are prepared to beat the pavement.

Our Ultimate Preppers Checklist is designed for those who plan on staying at home. A list for travel (bugging out) would be significantly different and I don’t recommend it for someone who hasn’t done any training unless absolutely necessary. 

So, to answer my question ‘What should every prepper have?’ The answer is a game plan. What type of game plan will depend greatly on what you’re preparing for.

When we lived by the coast in South Carolina, we prepared every year for hurricanes. Growing up in Michigan, we prepared for tornadoes. My family in southern California prepares for earthquakes and fires. Each situation or life emergency calls for different preps. 

Figure out what you are preparing for and focus on that. The preps we will be focusing on here relate to not being able to get to the store or leave your home for long periods of time, for whatever reason. 

What Do I need For Doomsday Prepping?

With any preps, you need supplies and materials for your and your family to survive. Air, water, food, shelter, and safety. Assuming you will be bugging in, meaning staying at home or confined to the house, you will need to make sure your house is protected from people and wildlife. Work on your home defense strategy. 

In addition to protection of your home and property, you need to make sure you have adequate supplies, a water source, and materials to survive and function.

In order to begin your preps, I suggest implementing a whole household audit. Examining what your family needs, buys, and uses over a thirty day period. Note the time of year and adjust your audit for the season. 

For instance, your water usage may be higher in summer months because of your garden than in winter. Opposite of that, you may use more firewood in the winter than in the summer. 

30 Day Household Audit

Most preppers say you should be prepared for an entire year. While I agree, I find a year to be unrealistic for most.

Either people can’t afford to prepare for that long financially or they don’t have the storage capacity for a years worth of supplies. I suggest aiming for a three month supply of preps using our preppers checklist, which isn’t unrealistic.

I have a close cousin whose home and city was destroyed in a hurricane that hit Florida and it took three months for FEMA to get to them to offer help.

In a situation like my cousins, you would have to prepare to leave your home and focus on emergency prepping which I discuss later in this article. 

Whole House Audit

  • Grocery consumption weekly and daily for both humans and animals. Keep track of meals and ingredients as well. Such as spices, oils, condiments. 
  • Water usage. Divide this into consumption. Showers, dishes, cleaning, luxury, animals, plants. 
  • Electricity needs and daily usage. Write down everything that you use that requires electricity. From your cell phone to the water heater. 
  • Health and Medical requirements. Medicines, doctors visits, special dietary needs, physical needs. 
  • Gas and or propane usage. 
  • Expenses. Monthly expenses. 

Once you’ve established the results of your whole home audit, multiply your totals x3. Forewarning, you may be a little shocked with how much your family uses/consumes. 


Food Audit and Inventory

In addition to a whole house audit, it’s important to know what you have in stock and how much of each thing.

We have created a FREE printable Inventory Sheet to help you keep track as well as a rationing guide.

You can download the Inventory Sheet in our article, How to Ration Food.  Use your inventory sheet in conjunction with our preppers checklist to make sure your stockpile is complete. 

Another really important topic to discuss about food storage and preps is FIFO, or First In, First Out. The first thing that gets placed in your pantry should be the first thing out that you use.

This way you are rotating your food and avoiding food spoilage. This applies to other items as well, such as oils, batteries, cleaners, medicine, etc. Items lose their potency and effectiveness over time and proper rotation is important. 

Meal Planning

Meal planning is a HUGE way to help food last long and to ration food if needed. During the recent pandemic, grocery store shelves were bare.

Without warning or time to stock up before they were empty. If you didn’t already have it or know someone who was willing to share, you went without.

This is a very real situation and not some doomsday conspiracy anymore. These are situations we are facing right now. Although some stores have been able to restock certain items, there are more shortages predicted in the near future. 

As I mentioned earlier, we are talking about the necessity of being prepared for three months or longer, we have created a Two-Week Family Meal Plan  with a printable shopping list to get you started right now until you have the means to stock everything on the ultimate preppers checklist. 

Ultimate Preppers Checklist

When going over our Ultimate Preppers Checklist, make sure to add items that your family uses from your audit results and omit items that no ones uses or eats.

Feel free to customize it to suit your families needs. Look at your whole home audit and buy more of what you already use. 

Create your Family Meal Plan with recipes your family already enjoys and try to find recipes that use few ingredients and non-perishable items. Such as Chilli or Spaghetti, you can try our homemade Spaghetti Sauce recipe here.  

Remember, this is just a guide. Don’t let it overwhelm you but do get started. Pick one topic, such as non-perishables, and start there then move on to your next topic.

Do this until you have a three month supply and feel confident that you and your family are prepared. Don’t invest a lot in what some call survival foods, but rather food you already eat that has a long shelf life. 

>>Ultimate Preppers List for Non-Preppers <<< Click here to print the complete list

What Should I Stockpile for SHTF?

In a true SHTF situation, not only should you focus on things your own family needs but think of items that you can barter for.

Such as tobacco, alcohol, caffeine, chocolate, garden seeds, lighters, and more.  Everything in your stockpile should have more than one use.

For instance, vodka. You can use it to barter, disinfect, medicine, an accelerant, extracts, tinctures, cleaner, and more. 

Herbs can be used for seasoning food and for medicine. Oil can be used for cooking, making soap, greasing items, barter, and so on.

I wouldn’t suggest stockpiling any specific type of currency because the legal tender of the future is anyone’s guess. I believe hard to find items and services will be of more value. 

What Should I Stockpile for Emergency?

SHTF and Emergencies are somewhat the same but also very different. SHTF situation is a doomsday prep for an undetermined amount of time.

Emergency situations generally have a visible end in sight when things will return to normal. Generally speaking, emergency situations include violent acts of nature and not something that you would prepare months for. 

Emergency preps should include the following supplies to last each member of your family a minimum of two weeks. (You can print our Ultimate Preppers Checklist Here)

  • Water and water filter
  • Cash on hand
  • Printed personal and medical records
  • Shelter alternatives (tent, tarp, boat, camper)
  • Flashlights and batteries
  • Generator and gas
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Portable Grill and charcoal
  • Personal protection and plenty of ammo
  • Candles
  • Paper products: plates, cups, napkins, toilet paper, paper towels
  • National road map
  • Non-perishable foods (see our two week family meal plan) and foods that have a long shelf life. 
  • Lighters and matches
  • B.O.B. (bug out bag). You can purchase a BOB online or custom make your own. 
  • HAM Radio or Walkie Talkie
  • First Aid Kit 
  • Solar phone charger
  • Blankets, sleeping bag, and cots
  • Portable water storage
  • Pictures of all family members, house, contents of house, property, cars, etc. 

Resource Guide

First, I want to congratulate you for researching about being prepared. You’ve taken the first step at reducing chaos and panic for if and when the need arises. 

From growing food to thriving off-grid, we like to share our experiences with others. The following links will offer you more in depth information about different topics. 

What other items would you add to our Ultimate Preppers Checklist?

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Saturday 21st of August 2021

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Tuesday 29th of December 2020

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Friday 21st of August 2020

I am not a prepper or a homesteader. I do not have a bug out bag, but I grew up in California with earthquakes. I have earthquake survival packs still in my truck, even though I no longer live in earthquake territory. The pandemic has made me think more abut prepping though. When I'm home off the grid I would be relatively safe and secure. But if I'm away from home, that would be the problem time. - Margy