Maybe it is just me but it seems like there are not that many preppers out there that are in their 30s or younger. I have wanted to take some time to address this and encourage younger people to start prepping. This post may ruffle a few feathers but it is based on what I have observed in numerous prepping groups, on social media and when out in public.
Sometimes becoming a better person means realizing our mistakes and errors in judgment and making an effort to not repeat them. We are living in a divided society and it is heartbreaking how the generations do not get along or respect each other
A lot of this post is about getting into a healthier mindset and doing what is good for you while overcoming some ridiculous and contemptuous stereotypes and ideas.
There is also some advice on how to actually get started prepping if you are younger even if you are on a strict budget. At the end of this post, I have included a few links to Facebook preparedness groups that are great places for younger and older preppers to learn from and meet others.
Fact: You don’t have to spend a fortune to be a prepared person.
I know money is tight for a lot of people, especially those that are younger and trying to get a good start in life. A starter job doesn’t always offer much in the way of extra money. If you look at shows on TV or any preparedness site or Facebook group, it might seem like everyone has a lot of expensive gear and gadgets that you cannot afford and you might never even use them so investing what little extra money you have may not seem like a good move.
The truth is that you really don’t need a lot of expensive gadgets to be more prepared. Preparedness starts with an extra $5 or $10 spent on food, a pack of lighters, or a $20 water filter or even learning a new skill. You do not need a big budget to be a prepared person and get through an emergency.
You don’t have to be preparing for a “The End Of The World As We Know It” situation.
There are people that fret and prep over big disasters that may happen but are not near as likely as common events like hurricanes, winter storms, a flood, earthquake, or a supply disruption due to an oil refinery accident. Heck, you may be glad you have some extra supplies too if you experience a reduction in work hours, lose your job, or experience a brief illness.
Getting over the stigma of the Doomsday Prepper
I really think that a lot of younger people are afraid of being known as wackos or extremists if they are preppers. Guess what? You don’t have to tell anyone about your preps! So this leaves getting over some ridiculous stereotypes in your own head and realizing you are not crazy for wanting a few weeks of security in case of a disaster. Even the US government advises people to have at least 72 hours worth of emergency supplies on hand.
This brings me to another question that I have asked myself many times.
Why does the idea of prepping and stockpiling some supplies seem so extreme to some and cause them to make such gross assumptions about a person’s political beliefs and character? Why do these people get so offended that they resort to name-calling or other verbal attacks? Why do people stop talking to others?
I can honestly say that preppers come from across the political spectrum but for some reason, certain folks love to assume differently.
Those that take offense at preparedness baffled me for a while Why on earth would they be that offended and judgmental over things that honestly our grandparents and before did all the time before modern conveniences made it possible to live the way we do now.
I think it boils down to this: Prepping upsets the world view that everything will be okay or that you need to worry about other things. It also goes against the belief that the social safety net and disaster response efforts of the United States government will be able to take care of people if something awful happens. Being prepared and living a lifestyle of preparedness is saying to these people that you do not have complete trust and faith in the system and some cannot accept that someone may feel that way and it is their right to have that opinion if they want too.
No matter how much you trust the government to respond well in a disaster, it is worth considering and planning for them not being able to help you. There are times when despite the best efforts of emergency responders and FEMA response teams, help is days away. There is no guarantee that you will be able to get the help you need as soon as you would like.
The Truth: I struggle to like the term prepper and I despise it when people add words like doomsday to it.
Prepping is something that everyone used to do. Back in the day it was called “putting back” or “putting back for winter”. Even further back you absolutely had to put back whatever you could to get through the colder months of the year or you risked going without or having to be hungry part of the time. People could not just get something from somewhere else if there was a bad crop year or similar. Our grandparents used to grow gardens, can, and know how to do basic repairs when needed around the home.
Avoid assigning gender to tasks and looking down on tasks as something that uneducated or lower social classes do. You may be doing this and not even realize it.
Housework is not what oppresses women. There is a difference is between being forced or expected to do them all the time and doing them because you either like them or realize that someone has to do it.
Sewing and mending were not just for women, there were plenty of men that sewed clothes, tailored, and quilted. What do you think they did on those long evenings in the winter when there was not a lot of farm work or they were stuck inside? It wasn’t like men had a lot of inside hobbies they could do, especially if they were just the average person.
On the other side of this is of course the men that see traditional roles as the way to go and never give women a chance to do some of the more labor-intensive or dangerous tasks.
We need to value the strengths that others have and build on that.
Ask yourself if you see some tasks as beneath you? What do you think about those that have to do the rough, tough, and dirty jobs? Being prepared means doing a lot of things on your own or at least knowing how.
I went to a work college and I can tell you right now that the kids that had never had to clean their house or anything like that were not always that thrilled about getting put on the cleaning crews for the buildings. It was good for them though because it made them appreciate that someone has to do that work and that you don’t always get to start out at the middle or top.
As a society we need to stop looking down on people because they have a job that is considered low class by some. Farming is a big example of a profession that for years, kids were told to not to do. Nope they were told to get an office job, something cushy, that farming was low class work. The result is a nation where the average farmer is over 60 years old and the younger generation has no interest or the ability to farm even though without farmers, there is no readily available and steady supply of food.
My point is that we all need to stop assigning these roles immediately to tasks and allow people to do things that are in line with their personal ability level. Liberal, conservative, and everyone in between is probably guilty of assigning gender roles to work even if they think they are being super open minded.
Don’t be afraid to be a leader instead of a follower
If you break the barrier down and start prepping as a younger person than your friends may realize that it is a good idea. They might think “Hey Jane has started prepping, and she seems like she is still fun to be around. No tin foil hat or anything!.
There is a chance that some people will make assumptions, stop talking to you, or act downright rude during social interactions.
I am not going to lie and tell you that everyone is going to be able to handle you being a prepper if you choose to tell them. I write about it so I really cannot hide the fact that I am a prepared person that is 36 years old. My personal experience is that I have people that have decided to snub me and not treat me with a basic level of respect that I have known for 15 years.
Yep. We are in living in a culture of contempt where if your opinion or lifestyle is not 100% in line with someone else’s belief system, that is enough for them to make a lot of assumptions and break ties. I also talk to very few people I went to college with. Occasionally one will pop up to comment if something really upsets their worldview, but that is rare because I watch what I say on social media and I don’t feed the trolls and others that are waiting to be offended and activity looking for a way to be.
If you try to approach things from the viewpoint of respecting others differences and their right to have an opinion different from yours and they do not return the favor or attack you worse, you may be better off without that kind of relationship. This can be tough and I think people should try to have a common ground and agree to disagree but you can only try to keep bridges up for so long without the other side making an effort.
Supplies To Get Started
Once you have your mindset right and have decided to start prepping, here is a list that I think will help you get started and that will be easy to fit into your budget
As you can afford it, put back enough food to last you 2 weeks. Try to get a 72 hour supply to start and then add the rest as you can. If you have a budget that allows and want something already put together, I recommend checking out Valley Food Storage or Mountain House 72 hour food kits.
Good Budget Foods to Stockpile
These foods are shelf stable and will help you get started on your food supply even if you are on a tight budget. Some are more shelf stable than others. For example peanut butter is great for your food stash but I would not trust it to store past a year. Buy a few things as you can and you will be amazed how fast you build a good food supply for an unexpected emergency.
- Flour and Baking Mixes
- Cooking Oil and Fats
- Peanut Butter
- Powdered Drink Mixes
- Granola Bars
- Canned Fruit
- Canned Meat
- Canned Vegetables
- Powdered Milk
- Spices and Sauces *don’t forget salt!
Small bottles of water eventually leak during storage. The bottles are made to breakdown over time. The larger dispenser water bottles are made to be reused. You can also by special containers to store water in. A $20 Sawyer Mini water filter with a squeeze bag is a must.
If you have a family or a spouse or partner, then you might consider a Hydro Blue Gravity Fed Water filter that can handle a larger volume on demand. These will cost you under $50 in most cases.
You need a basic medical kit that will allow you to treat cuts, stings, abrasions, and other typical injuries. It doesn’t have to be a large kit to get the job done. I like the small blue First Aid kits but I always add in Benadryl Liqui-gels, Some Vetrap for sprains and wrapping, and some blood stop band aids and powder. Those are the things I find missing in a lot of kits except for really fancy or large ones that are not always the best fit for everyone or their lifestyle.
Rain Gear and Quality Clothing Suitable to Your Climate
You want to be able to stay dry and comfortable during an emergency. You can get hypothermia even in warmer climates and when the temperature is in the 60s.
Non cotton clothing is a good idea because you can wash and dry it easily and some of the better garments are treated so they don’t get smelly fast.
Some reading this may not remember a time when the internet was not available, fast,or inexpensive. Plenty rely on it for all their entertainment needs. You should have some supplies put back to entertain yourself during an emergency. A few books or an ereader filled with books and a small battery bank or solar charger to keep it topped off can go a long way towards entertainment when the power is out or if you have to evacuate to an emergency shelter.
A Kindle allows for a lot of reading on a single charge, especially if the Wifi function is turned off. Make sure to keep your ereader topped off though. I learned the hard way that they are not really off sometimes and the battery will drain while it is not being used. It takes a long time but you don’t want to come back to find a totally drained device.
Learn to not be too dependent on socialization. While human interaction is important, you need to learn to be by yourself or with just your family or spouse during an emergency.
Some younger people are very social either online or in the physical part of their life. You need to learn to not be too distraught if you do not have that in your life for a while. It might not sound like a big deal to stay at home for a week straight but I assure you that to plenty of people it is and some do not realize how much it affects them until they have to do it. Being so attached to “getting out of the house” or going to town can lead to decisions that have dire consequences.
Ever see a news story about fatalities and injuries during a snow storm or blizzard and wonder why on earth they were out? Well not everyone that gets stuck on the road is someone out doing something like commuting to or from a job or other required activity. Being too stir crazy or unable to stay away from the action is something you need to overcome so you can stay safe and be happier when things happen that necessity staying in place.
Learn how to do things on your own instead of calling someone else to do it.
You will save a lot of money by doing some things yourself. There are very basic things that people pay good money to have done that they could do themselves and come out ahead. We are all lucky to have so many free learning resources out there such as Youtube, inexpensive community college classes, and a lot of books.
Give people a chance before you make judgments…..I mean this for young and old preppers too.
I have talked to some folks and I have to say that we need to build stronger bridges to link the generations. I hear older people make the assumption that younger people don’t want to work or they don’t know how to do anything, or they cannot handle anything that makes them the slightest bit uncomfortable.
The younger folks assume that older people are looking down on them or have antiquated ideas or they are the problem because they lived it up over the years and now young people have to pay the costs by living in a world of chaos
Let’s stop the blame game and stop feeding a culture of contempt and hate.
How about we all pledge to give people the benefit of the doubt during good times?
I know that you have to be careful with who you let into your life. I am not going to tell you that you should give everyone a lot of trust right away but I do think giving people a chance to show who they are is a positive thing.
If I didn’t write prepping articles, share pictures, ect, most people would never guess in a million years that I am a 36-year-old that has been with my husband for 15 years, helped build a house, started a vineyard, raised and butchered goats, sheep, pigs, and cattle, canned a lot of food, ect. Instead they might just see some tattooed young person with a nose ring and probably make some quick assumptions about my morals and political stance on a variety of issues.
A few months back I was on a wine shop and for the second time the same lady customer made sure to give me a dirty look, slam her wine glass down, and act shocked that someone like me was in that shop. She never would guess that we had the largest vineyard in the county because she could not see past the exterior and my assumed age. It was annoying but it didn’t make me hate her or anything like that. There is a good chance that if we were introduced, we would probably get along.
For all you young folks, even if it takes a bit of proving yourself, try to be more patient and understanding of those older than you. Realize that when you speak or ask to learn something from them that they are probably not used to that. In fact they may be used to younger people being fairly rude and disrespectful towards them.
A lot of young people are not clamoring to learn a lot skills because it hasn’t really occurred to them that they need to so it can seem even a little suspicious if you ask. Older folks may think that it will turn into a disaster because you will get offended by something because they see it happening so often around them.
Prepping Groups I Recommend For Younger Preppers
I participate in a variety of Facebook groups. Here are a few places that I know are extremely welcoming to everyone.
Prep Club was started by my good buddy Daisy Luther over at The Organic Prepper. She kindly allowed me to be an Admin too! Prep Club is a place where everyone can talk about preparedness and survival without any political agenda. One of the biggest rules of Prep Club is that no politics are allowed. A lot of prepper writers are members of Prep Club and it is a great place to learn without fear of trolling or personal attacks.
PrepperNet is a just what it sounds like, a network of preppers from across the country that regularly get together both online and in person. You can participate on whatever level you like. I regularly post in the Facebook group and everyone I have talked to has been very kind and fun to talk to!
People have to learn to give each other a chance and realize that trust and respect is something that largely has to be earned, like it or not.
Samantha Biggers can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.