I Am New To Prepping, Where Do I Start? What Should I Purchase First?
This get’s asked a lot, and it is not an easy one to answer, because much depends on your present situation, where you live and what sort of tools and equipment do you already have. So to answer this question, I will assume you live in a town or city, and you have nothing of any use in a survival situation.
The first thing to understand is that in a serious break down of society you will need to get out of the city while you can. In my opinion, if you stay in the city you will become a target. You can not leave your home in safety, and you can’t secure your safety in the home from raiders. It is just too easy to fire a house or drive a truck through it. So let’s prep for “Bugging Out”
If you have to leave the city for any reason, you can’t possibly know for how long you must stay away, so prep for long term wilderness survival. Here are a couple of recommendations that I think are important:
1. Never rely on modern gadgets and gear, they will not last and there are more important things to take up the weight in your pack. If you are going to carry a modern item, such as a modern firearm with ammunition, do not do so at the expense of carrying primitive gear.
2. If you have a partner you will find it easier to prepare and survive. Equipment can be shared and you can take more with you. The same goes for a group of people. You may want to have someone carrying just food and or water.
3. If you carry a modern firearms and ammunition, keep it just for self-defence, NOT for hunting.
4. When packing for the trail there must be a compromise between two principles: minimum weight and maximum self-reliance.
Items you will need when “Bugging Out”:
2. Fire making tools.
3. Housewife sewing kit.
4. Medical Kit.
5. An awl.
6. A good hunting knife.
7. A clasp knife.
8. A back-up fixed blade knife.
9. Tomahawk or light belt axe.
10. A good whet stone and a small metal file.
12. Water bottles or canteens.
13. Food items. Always carry some foods that do not require cooking.
15. A bow and arrows or a muzzle-loading firearm with shot pouch and accoutrements.
16. Fishing tackle.
17. Two roles of 7 strand brass picture hanging wire for making small game snares.
18. 6 meters of light natural fibre rope for making trail snares for medium sized game.
19. Knapsack and Haversack.
Type of equipment:
Shelter: A natural fibre canvas for use as a lean-to is far better than a nylon tent. A canvas enables you to; see outside, construct easily in various forms, gain heat from the camp fire, cook in the rain without getting wet, stoke the fire without leaving your bed, be less visible when not using a fire.
Making Fire: A traditional flint and steel with a tinderbox for fire lighting is a sustainable method, and learning how to use a flint and steel will teach you a lot about plant tinders and fire lighting in general. With a flint and steel and tinderbox you will never be without fire.
Knives: You will need a good hunting knife, a simple inexpensive carbon steel butcher knife is all you need for skinning and butchering game.
A carbon steel clasp knife is a good back-up knife, but it’s main use is for camp chores and constructing primitive traps.
A third fixed blade knife such as a legging knife to be used as a back-up for dressing game and for self-defence. All your blades can be used for self-defence.
The Axe: A tomahawk as we know them today is a light axe with an oval or round eye that does not require a wedge to secure the head to the helve. This not only makes it easier to make and fit a new helve, but it can also be used for throwing for recreation, self-defence and hunting if needs be.
Sharpening Your Blades: All you need is a good whet stone and a small good quality metal file.
The Blanket: One good quality pure wool blanket per person should be adequate in most areas in Australia, but you will also need to carry a few extra clothing items for really cold weather. This clothing will weigh less than a second blanket, and can be carried rolled up in your blanket.
Water Bottles and Canteens: No specific requirements here beyond light weight and durability. Carry as much as you can afford to carry in areas that are unknown to you. You don’t know where the next water source will be. Add a meter square piece of plastic sheeting for making a solar still just in case.
Foods: Dried foods are by far the best way to go, but some of them will require water to make them more palatable. Rice, oats, paster, dried fruits and vegetables, flour, nuts, sunflower seeds, dried meat (Jerky). You may also want to add some bread and cheese for the trail when first starting out. You need to travel as far as you can the first day/night.
The Kettle: This is not your average tea kettle we are talking about here, we are talking billy kettle made of tin plated iron, or a tin lined brass or copper kettle. The brass and copper kettles are likely to last longer but are heavier that the tin billy. But if you look after you tin kettle it too should last a long time.
Bows and Guns: A bow is relatively silent, but not as good as a gun for self-defence. However, a long bow or a recurve bow are relatively light to carry, so you could conceivably carry both gun and bow. This is especially easy when you have a partner or are a member of a group. DO NOT carry a compound bow. There are too many things that can go wrong with this type of bow. Special strings are required, as are special arrows.
A flintlock muzzle-loading gun or rifle, are far more sustainable than a modern firearm, plus they are more versatile. A smoothbore even more so than a rifle. Gunpowder bags can be used to carry extra gunpowder, and when empty, can be used to store plant tinders. You can retrieve spent lead from the game you shoot, so no need to carry a lot of weight in lead. All you have is lock, stock and barrel, and the lock is easy to repair with a few spare parts. If the lock should break, and you have no spare parts, you can easily turn your flintlock into a matchlock or a tinderlock and continue using it. Matched pistols can be carried to increase your fire power and self-defence abilities.
The Trap Line: Setting up a trap line will save you time in the long run and save on ammunition. A trap line will work for you day and night.
Second Hand Items: Many good items can be purchased inexpensively second hand from op-shops and second hand stores, including; butcher knives, axes, haversacks, knapsacks, leather for making clothing and pouches, blankets etc.
In Part Two I will cover my recommendations for clothing items.
Please Note, prepping for survival is a serious activity, this is not the time to want to be a Rambo type or want to show off your military gear and camo clothing. You Are Not in the army in regards to prepping, there will be no back-up, no supplies. Choosing the right gear and equipment the first time is important to your long term survival, so get it right.
Looking at the back of my oilcloth shelter.
My belt pouch with fishing tackle, brass sundial compass, fire-bag flint and steel and tinderbox.
Tomahawk, hunting knife, friction clasp knife, and legging knife.
Metal file and whetstone.
Open housewife sewing kit.
My knapsack with oilcloth, blanket, spare moccasins, and market wallet secured under the flap closure.
Two more packs belonging to my sons.
My .62 caliber/20 gauge smoothbore flintlock fusil.
My .32 caliber flintlock rifle.
A flintlock pistol to match the caliber of your longarm.
My shot pouch, powder horn and accouterments including ball and shot moulds.
Shot pouch gun tools, spare flints, jaw leather and grease container.
Gun lock spare parts and tools, including a wad punch.
Two awls. The top one I made, the lower one was my Father's. The wood blade sheath is wound with beeswaxed linen thread.
My Video Channel with more videos relating to the items above:
Details on my Primitive Fire Lighting Book which is available as a PDF for downloading: