Where to Start…?




There is never a ‘bad’ time to start Preparing (Unless it’s after SHTF 😉 ), but it seems that now is a perfect time to become prepper and survivalist. I’m seeing and hearing from a lot of folks, that for various reasons, are now interested in preparing.

I see numerous reasons for that, I do not think we really need to go into them…

Several times I had questions “ what do you suggest to a man/woman who wants to become prepper?” So it is about time to make some discussion about what prepper newbie need to understand about preparing for SHTF.


We all know why, for someone it is because coming economic collapse, for somebody else it is about evil government, or simply because a bad weather event is a strong possibility.

I like to think you are becoming a prepper because you want to take control over your life and actions. Remember, you do not want to be scared – you want to be aware.

You do not want to be dependent (more or less) on the ‘system’ because you understand (I hope!!!) that the ‘system’ is a complicated thing and can be disrupted or totally stop, very easily, because of many different reasons.

You are becoming a  prepper because you now see and understand how fragile all it is.

Knowledge / Skills

Arm yourself with knowledge and skills. Go into every pillar of survival and start from the basics. Personally I like the approach where you should cover all of the basic but pick up something where you are gonna be really good, a ‘master’ of that skill or subject, if you will.

That means you should have knowledge ranging from water (finding, purifying, storing) communications ( you really have to know to use map and compass and different types of signals) but also pick up one of the pillars that you like most (that means pillar where you can really be good at) and go in depth.

There is no man who knows everything, and also being really good in some field gives you possibility of good skill trade maybe when SHTF.

Do not go “Hollywod style” in your knowledge and skills and work too much on one pillar and completely forget other because you think it is “not important”.

For example, in my time it was perfection to find overnight urban shelter, because good thing was to find ruined building and hide it there in order to spent night (safe).

Now skill was (and sometimes luck too) to find perfect leverage in finding building that is destroyed enough (and look dangerous) but still good enough for you (so it would not collapse completely on you while you are sleeping), building that gives you enough chances so you can set up some traps without too much effort, start fire (not visible from outside) building with extra exit in case of danger etc.

Sometimes having set up visible trap outside of your shelter can give intruder sign that there is more ‘not visible’ traps there, and that there is no value in going there.

In what cases to use noise trap first, or simply alarm etc…

It is a game.

What I want to say is that “shelter” pillar is not only about having sleeping bag or putting plywood on your windows.

“Water” pillar for example  includes knowledge about alternate sources of water in your surroundings, or simply how big is water heater in your neighbor’s home? (maybe it will be abandoned)…

How many of you will really try to collect moisture from the grass and how much time you need for that and how much water you can get from that?

So to cover them again, we have the Seven pillars of Preparedness. Remember these are not in any order, your priorities in use will very much depend on what is happening:

1) Fire

2) Water

3) Shelter

4) Food

5) Signalling/Communication

6) Medical/Hygiene

7) Defense

Your Setup

Most basic thing is to understand where and how you gonna survive when SHTF, and for what SHTF scenario you are preparing.

It is the foundation from where you are going to build everything else, everything you are going to ‘wrap’ around these seven pillars of survival.

Words  BOB, BOL, bug in, bug out are just that-words. You need to build your own setup that works for YOU.

You may have perfect Bug Out Location (BOL) 200 miles from your home, but that simply can mean 1 month of traveling by foot when SHTF.

In that 1 month I assure you you will be forced to use whole range of knowledge from everyone of the survival pillars.

Everything from wrong kind of footwear, not enough socks or gangs of psychopaths may be your problem then.

Do not end up dead because you exchange basic knowledge, for your opinion that you ll be able to easily drive 200 miles to your BOL when SHTF.

Remember your well prepared plan does not gives you permission not to know how to drive (stolen) manual drive car or how to purify dirty water on your way there.

Your Decisions and Plans

You may already get decision strongly to bug out because you are living in big city, close to the mall, close to the bad neighbourhood… and you have perfect BOL.

Guess what? You may not have chance to go there, maybe somewhere in the middle of the night you will wake up and figure that opportunity is gone, and you simply have to stay.

And only then you realize that you did not even calculate possibility that you may not go to BOL when SHTF.

And then there are you, your plan is gone, and all that you have is your knowledge and skills.

It is up to you how much of that knowledge and skills you’re going to have.

It gives me chills when I read how many preppers are taking for granted that they simply will have time and opportunity to reach their BOL.

Nothing is for granted and you never know. Very often you’ll have to adapt.

Maybe dirty bomb situation will find you in your office, in your suite, armed with pencil only and you will have to build your survival plan from that point…

Again I got chills when I read people putting all what they have in one place, stating that they will defend it to the last. Be flexible-adapt.

Knowledge and skills are something that you’ll always have with you, plan is something that will change all the time – for sure.

Thinking Out of the Box

In this region one of the regular scams that happens often. Your driving and suddenly you see a man and woman standing next to  what looks like broken car, there are few kids in back of the car.

Man is waving to you, you stop to ask what’s going on (it is daytime, kids and women is there, nothing suspicious on the first look).

Man says he is not from around here, his car is broken and needs money for towing service, but he is without cash, his house is far blah blah

He asks money from you in return he will gave you his gold ring because his kids are hungry, his wife is crying etc

He will give you $600 worth ring for a $100 for example, and he will give you card with phone number so after few days you can call him and return him his ring for your money when he get to his bank cards or whatever.

His hand is full of rings, cars are honking around you, kids are crying man is keep going “please please”.

You said yes (sometimes because you feel sorry, sometimes because you want something worth $600 for $100), man is taking of his gold ring, you feel it is heavy, you see there is gold mark on it (like an official stamp to show it’s real), and that’s it.

You just lost $100.

Phone number is fake, few hours later you find out it is type of heavy metal material, gold plated ring with false stamp on it. And you ask yourself how it is possible that you make fool of yourself in such a cheesy way.

Answer is simple actually: you were blinded by greed or blinded by your good soul and rush and outside influence (kids crying, cars are honking, man is desperate, he is in trouble, his wife is angry on him etc etc…)

It is similar when SHTF, you can do a lot, survive a lot of weird situations, or simply get shot (or mugged) because “outside” influences are going to be huge.

Confusion, lack of information, false information, uncertainty, bombardment of new things, constant need to adapt.

Simply you need to stay focused and learn to adapt.

And yes, one more thing, this short ring scam story can be used in your favor when SHTF.

I have gold plated rings with false stamps  as a part of my preparations for SHTF.

If you find yourself on check point it is good to give the man your gold “engagement ring” to let you go, like we discussed many times.

It is even better to gave him a fake gold ring. In confusion almost no one will see difference….


Simply, what do I want to say… Focus on building credible knowledge and skills, develop an adaptive mindset, yes buy some equipment and resources but this should not be the main or sole focus of your preparing…

Even for you that are ‘well prepared’ it is good to take a ‘step back’ and see what are you actually prepared for…? How well do you know, and how much do you train with your equipment?

I’ve said before some ‘strategies’ I see as very common cause me great concern. Make sure you are planning and preparing for the ‘realities’ of bad situations, NOT the Hollywood (or your own) fantasy…

If you are a new prepper say Hi in our comments below. If you are an experienced Prepper please share your ‘best tips’ in the comments for the new people reading this…

Prepping is not a competition, lets all help each other while we can…

For those that want a ‘step by step’ guide to Prepping, you can sign up for my excellent and unrivalled Online course. This would be an excellent ‘first investment’ in your preparedness journey, and we have ept the price low so it is accessible to everyone, click here and scroll down for course details:


7 responses to “Where to Start…?”

  1. Dave Z says:

    My best tip: Live the Prep!

    Make your Bug Out Location your home. When SHTF, that’s where it will find you, on home turf.

    Warm and cook on fires you build. Use water you collect, filter and sterilize. Arrange shelter you want to live in, with survival in mind. Consider Ham Radio, semaphore, morse code. Eat what you hung and forage. Take a Wilderness First Responder course and use what you learn. Find foraged alternatives to paper/product based hygiene. Practice with firearms, a martial art, archery.

    Make your plan, bug-out and de-bug. It’s fun, cheap, and you will learn quickly, with leisure to make mistakes. Learn what you need and what you don’t.

    From the POV of decades of prepping, I can say you are in good hands with Selco!

    And, as he reminds us, have plans B, C, D and X to back us up!

    Dave Z

  2. Dave Z says:

    HUNT and forage. Eat what you hunt and forage. – DZ

  3. Redleg says:

    Expanso I can learn your human networks now. Maybe not for people you invite to move in but definitely with skills you may need. I’m meeting some bums and giving them a little cash for odd jobs. I took the county Emergency Team training and they gave me a free backpack with supplies. I’m taking new radio classes to upgrade and one guy gave me 3 radios. I’m working now with them and getting access to their radio setups. Several are Preppers and we’re now sharing info and establishing relationships. And connections now introduced me to another set of guys who wear camo and carry “gardening tools” to train. And I’ve met some guys who are prepping their homes and families, sharing their skills like mechanic, electrician, former soldier, food preservationists, gardening, medical. And I’m now way more prepared and confident than a year ago. I’ve started noting where edible plants are that no one knows to use. I’ve improved my awareness of bad guys on our streets. I help feed the homeless and street people once a month, and made friends with a guy who knows most of those people. I joined a bunch of social media pages using my made up name, like Crime Watch, and small farmer networks. I’m fertilizing my gardens right now and making sure to always have some fresh gasoline stored in containers and keep vehicle full. I have a little spare cash and more spare ammo now. We just did a practice bug out where I loaded up my truck and met others at one site and we traveled to a big meeting point. I have a list of things that I want to get, such as a pump that can use car battery to pump gasoline out of underground storage tanks. Selco taught me a lot but he’s helped me to learn about a lot of other stuff just by explaining the thought process of surviving…..so I can learn even when he isn’t teaching. Thanks again Selco.

  4. Benjammin says:

    Yes, Selco, as I continue to preach on this topic as well. It is the prepared mind that makes the difference. Forward thinking, expecting the unexpected, and being aware of your surroundings. You won’t survive just reacting to situations and events. You have to be able to think your way through and do it quickly most often. This requires that a person face the realities of life and not within the limits of life as we know it today. We have an imagination for a reason. We can use imagination with a little study to construct scenarios and plans and help develop ways of thinking that can get us through crisis. We may not be able to foresee all events and circumstances, but we can at least come up with rudimentary responses to basic problems we might face, such as the gold ring con you mention. Getting conned is only one example of how a situation like that can play out, and certainly not the worst outcome that a person might face. You might end up with a gun stuck in your face if you stop to see what the problem is or offer to help. If you aren’t thinking about possible outcomes before the encounter, your chances for surviving intact and without losses in such situations are much reduced.

    It is good to learn skills, and to master techniques, such as build a fire or shoot a gun reliably at distance. But the real advantage is being able to apply those skills and knowledge at the right time for maximum benefit. What good is knowing how to build a fire if you are in a place where having a fire will get you killed? Or being able to put bullets on target at 300+ yards when you are surrounded by armed bad guys at 15 yards who have the drop on you? Skills are always going to be secondary to strategy. It is often a hard concept to teach until the student is put into the sh!t and sees it firsthand. Some won’t survive.

  5. oldfatguy says:

    Hunting and fishing are good strategies–but neither are any guarantee you’ll fill your belly on any given day. The noise created shooting game animals may draw human predators right to you. Fishing with a trot line will give you an edge, but again,not guaranteed. In order to improve your chances, you MUST purchase commercially made traps and set them along game trails, just outside of “gopher” holes. These may or may not require bait. Rat traps baited with birdseed,can be placed in an open field or even on a flat roofed house or shed. The best traps for other animals are small conibear traps–BUY A TOOL FOR SETTING THEM–you may need it to remove your hand should one snap shut unexpectedly. Opening even a small conibear trap with your weak hand will be a challenge you will not welcome. The best tool for this resembles a caulking gun, and though intended for use on larger conibear traps, will make life easier even with small 110 size traps. Although edible wild plants may help to stave off hunger pangs, they offer little more than Vitamin C. Do NOT harvest mushrooms–it’s possible to die from mushroom poisoning by eating close relatives to those which are safe to eat and appear identical–the genus Agaricus comes to mind., Google it.

  6. BH says:

    I’ve said it before, and I don’t think it gets old. Learn how to do EVERYTHING. Every little skill you have will help you when SHTF. Selco mentioned the manual transmission car. Do you know how to drive one? Do you think you could learn? If you have to think about it, you lose. You CAN drive one. Even if you never have, you will have to be able to pick this up at the drop of a hat. At least learn the concept now, so you’re familiar with it later. (RIGHT now. Open another tab and start Google-ing it) You can do EVERYTHING that is humanly possible. Program yourself for this. And practice it, when things are fine. Because someday they will not be fine.

  7. James Cooper says:

    Know that SHTF isn’t necessarily the global economic collapse or nuclear war or the failure of the electrical grid or a global pandemic. Its your car breaking down in a desert or getting stuck up in the mountains on a camping trip or stranded in a ditch in a snowstorm in your suit and tie or a traumatic chainsaw accident in the north 40 setting your deer stand. All of a sudden, YOU NEED HELP NOW and there is no one around to help you. As we just had in the north east USA, a bad spring wind storm knocking out power for 7-10 days followed by a massive snow storm dropping 2 feet of snow or more just a few days later with very cold temperatures along with it. Unless you heat with a wood stove, your heating system relies on electricity in some way to do its job. People were freaking out when the cold started to invade their “safe place” You need to be prepared to either hunker down for 10-14 days in your house and provide food and heat for your family or get your things and go to a shelter where you can get warm. Oh yah, the roads are closed because they are impassible. In any one of the above scenario’s, It’s pretty much SHTF in a big way. You won’t be worried about global pandemic when your family is freezing and they haven’t eaten in 14 hours. Now to start prepping, what would you do about these things???

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