Prepper Book Festival 10: Middle Ground Prepping

Gaye Levy Gaye Levy  |  July 1, 2019
Prepper Book Festival 10: Middle Ground Prepping

Anytime I hear the term “Extreme Prepping” I cringe.  Extreme denotes exceeding the bounds of moderation and guess what?  That is not, in my humble opinion, what prepping is all about.  Give me the normal and give me the ordinary.  I want prepping to be a mainstream preoccupation and so that is what I write about.

Prepping in moderation using common sense and practicality is the mantra of this website.  For that reason, I am delighted to have the opportunity to introduce the book Middle Ground Prepping: A Sensible Approachimage  as the next entry in Prepper Book Festival 10: The Best New Books to Help You Prepare.

Written by Jim Serre, this is a book for those of you that want a single, well-written handbook that will educate you about the nature of disasters and disruptive events along with reasonable and doable strategies for creating your own person safety net.

Middle Ground Prepping | Backdoor Survival

In the usual Book Festival fashion, today I share an interview with Jim, and in addition, have two copies of his book up for grabs in giveaway.

Enjoy the interview then be sure to check in below to learn about the giveaway.

An Interview with Jim Serre, Author of Middle Ground Prepping

Tell me about your book. What is it about?

Middle Ground Prepping provides five well-defined steps that will allow you to develop a comprehensive emergency plan in a reasonable amount of time. By simply following the Planning, Acquiring, Responding, Training, and Evaluating steps you will experience considerable peace of mind and knowledge that your family is prepared to survive any disaster that may come your way.

You can be a sensible prepper on your schedule without becoming obsessed with over-the-top preparedness notions and low probability theoretical disasters.

What type of research did you have to do while writing your book?

The majority of the research done to complete this book was centered around the historical look at emergency preparedness in the U.S. and the various organizations associated with disaster relief.

A good deal of information was also found within FEMA after action reports related to Hurricane Katrina and Sandy. Additionally, my years of experience as a first responder provided significant perspective on many of the emergency situations presented in the book.

How long did it take to write?

Some of the book’s contents were originally blog posts over the past 10 years; however, we were able to assemble those documents, research items and write the book in about 3 months.

Every book, fiction and non-fiction, includes a message. What message do you hope my readers will take with them after reading your book?

The main message of the book is that everyone can and should do some form of preparedness in order to support themselves and their family in the case of and emergency or longer term disaster.

You don’t need a missile silo as a bug out shelter to be prepared. Get some supplies, make some emergency plans and practice your plan once in a while.

Can you tell us a little bit more about yourself?

Like many, after 9/11 I felt the need to do something to help those that can’t always help themselves. I also realized that I was ill prepared on that day without a communication plan.

My wife and I became involved in volunteer Search & Rescue operations with a couple local Sheriff’s Departments. This taught us a great deal about emergency management and our interest in Community Emergency Response Training (CERT) grew. I’ve been a CERT Instructor for the past 9 years and continue to learn about emergency management and how to help others in an emergency.

As an author in the survival, prepping and/or homesteading niche, what are you personally preparing for?

Here in northern California, our weather if fairly mild; however, local flooding is probably our greatest weather concern. But I tend to more concerned with socio-political events that could disrupt commerce and our ability to access food supplies and medical assistance. The most common would be local rioting that was able to truncate local commerce and force us to stay home with only the supplies and medical knowledge we have.

What would be your first prep-step if you were just getting started?

Certainly, planning is the key first step in preparedness. One must first identify any and all potential risks in your locale. Such risks may be natural, technological, man-made or other hazards (such as solar flares (and resulting EMPs), collapse of the monetary system, nuclear war, etc.)

What book or movie, fiction or non-fiction, do you think gives the best portrayal of what could happen?

Well on the socio-political front, “Aftershock – Protect Yourself and Profit in the Next Global Financial Meltdown” by David Wiedemer, PhD provides a good look at what the future could hold for us given the massive job layoffs and redistribution following both the “” and the mortgage failure crises we’ve seen.

Do you have plans for another book?

While not yet confirmed, I am contemplating a book about volunteerism in American and the idealistic views of those who start out, but soon lose interest.


The Giveaway

Jim has reserved two copies of Middle Ground Prepping: A Sensible Approach for this Book Festival Giveaway.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

To enter the giveaway, you need to utilize the Rafflecopter form below.  Select one or more of the options after signing in using your email account or Facebook, the choice is yours.  The best way to start is by clicking on “Free Entry for Everyone”.  After that, each option you select represents an additional entry.  There are a number of different options so pick and choose or select them all.

The deadline is 6:00 PM Pacific Tuesday with the winner notified by email and announced on the Rafflecopter in the article.  Please note that the winner must claim their book within 48 hours or an alternate will be selected.

The Final Word

Those of you familiar with this blog know that I feel a lot of angst against websites, books, and videos that pitch prepping in the extreme.  Portraying preparedness as entertainment is downright nauseating so when I find an author or website that aligns with my core values, in an totally in.

Middle Ground Prepping is a book not only for those of you that think like I do, but also is an excellent resource to share with those that a hesitant to jump on board.  My thanks goes to Jim for writing this book.  Please enter the giveaway so that you can win a copy of your own.

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!

If you enjoyed this article, consider voting for Backdoor Survival daily at Top Prepper Websites!

In addition, SUBSCRIBE to email updates  and receive a free, downloadable copy of my e-book The Emergency Food Buyer’s Guide.


Spotlight:  Middle Ground Prepping: A Sensible Approachimage

Learn how middle ground prepping can get you prepared without taking over your life.

Somewhere in between the fanatical preppers highlighted on the hit reality show “Doomsday Preppers” and the millions of Americans who have done nothing to assemble emergency supplies lies “middle ground prepping.” Middle ground prepping is a concept that provides a measured and reasonable approach for novices to prepare for impending emergencies or disasters in order to protect yourself and your family.


Middle Ground Prepping provides five well-defined steps that will allow you to develop a comprehensive emergency plan in a reasonable amount of time. By simply following the Planning, Acquiring, Responding, Training, and Evaluating steps you will experience considerable peace of mind and knowledge that your family is prepared to survive any disaster that may come your way.

You can be a sensible prepper on your schedule without becoming obsessed with over-the-top preparedness notions and low probability theoretical disasters.

For your convenience, here is a list of all of the books in the current Backdoor Survival Prepper Book Festival.  There is truly something for everyone.

Plus: The Preppers Guide to Food Storage

No list of books would be complete without my own book, The Prepper’s Guide to Food Storage.  The eBook  print version is available.

I earn a small commission from purchases made when you begin your .

Help support Backdoor Survival. Purchases earn a small commission and for that I thank you!


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58 Responses to “Prepper Book Festival 10: Middle Ground Prepping”

  1. I believe common sense prepping is doing as much prepping as you can without sacrificing any of your actual needs. Cutting out a few luxuries like fast food meals & coffee shop trips, and then spending the money you would’ve spent on those on prepping supplies instead, is a sensible way to achieve it.

  2. I try to prep w/o being extremely lax or extremely zealous. My mom only shopped once a month due to my dad’s pay cycle, so I grew up knowing that a well stocked pantry/household was normal. So, that’s the way I view “prepping”…. normal. It’s a sensible lifestyle. Having plenty is a good thing!

  3. I think common sense prepping is not going overboard on expensive equipment and supplies (that you might have to leave behind if you have to bug out). It’s also focusing more on skill development than extra gear. It’s carefully assessing what you really need vs buying every neat gadget you see (although that’s really fun).

  4. Common Sense Prepping – in the days of obammie might be living in a nuclear silo!!! Lol
    Seriously, having the things you need to be ready period. Different people feel and see things differently. Food, Water, Sharp Knives, Guns and Ammo, Seeds, Essential Oils, Medicines are on my list. Thanks Gaye!!!

  5. Not going into debt to prepare for something that might happen. Preparing in the sense of having water and some food that does not need refrigeration, alternative lighting, heating and cooking methods. These are useful in all emergency situations.

  6. Common sense prepping is not exceeding your means – do not go into debt. Common sense prepping is knowing how to use what you have – practice using what you have so in an emergency, you know what to do.

  7. For me, common sense means stocking up on things me and my family would actually like to eat, and reading the labels to avoid buying foods that will damage our health. I do buy some processed foods, of course, considering it may be hard to do it all from scratch in an emergency, but there are many choices without a long list of chemicals.

  8. Common sense prepping to me is deciding what disasters would be most likely to occur in your area and prepping for that.

  9. To me common sense prepping is making sure you have ample amounts of things you use or would need in the event of a disaster. Living day to day would not be the way to go about it.

  10. Common sense prepping is keeping the proper perspective to keep you grounded in your preps. It is the perfect balance between the “nothing would ever possibly happen to me, so I’m not going to do anything” and the “everything bad in the world that could happen will undoubtedly happen to me, so I’ll buy every book, all the equipment recommended on every prepper website, and spend my days waiting anxiously for the doom and gloom to begin” points of view. It means making prepping a way of life, rather than something we do only in emergencies. We store food we like, we make food from what we store, we save our seeds and take family camping trips to practice/acquire some skills while enjoying each other’s company.

  11. Taking responsibility for yourself and your family and not looking to the government to rescue you. Simply evaluating what risks you may face and planning for them. It should be a lifestyle not a knee jerk reaction to one crisis. We buy life insurance and personal property insurance, this is just another form of insurance.

  12. Preparing for emergencies wthout going over the top, going into debt,etc. Having stored food, water, alternate sources for light,cooking, defense. There’s always something more to buy, but just slowly building up so you don’t give up “living”and enjoying life in the meantime.

  13. Common sense prepping is setting small goals and having some knowledge as to what your immediate, personal SHTF moments might be. For us, it’s job loss followed by bad weather. Every grocery trip, I coupon to save money and use that savings to buy a little extra to pad the pantry. It’s not difficult, nor am I going above and beyond our means. If we need a larger purchase, I put our extra cash to the side until we have enough to buy vs using a credit card. N

  14. Common sense prepping to me is using common sense. If there is a reasonable possibility that something could go wrong, make a plan to deal with that scenario.

  15. Common sense means being ready for life possibilities. I have homeowners insurance, health and death insurance, car insurance…how far of a stretch is it to add food and water insurance? How about personal safety insurance? I live my life and don’t obsess about it, but am ready for IT should it occur. To me that is just common sense.

  16. For me, common sense prepping is doing what I can to prepare for everyday life events so I can take care of myself. I didn’t do it all at once or spend lots of money on big name brands, but I did take that first step.

  17. go, a friend of mine disliked the term, saying prepping is “survivalist light.” I.e., in his view, prepping is middle ground. However, I’ve been seeing objections to the use of “prepper” from those who think it’s being misused by the media who think prepping is in itself extreme. Oh, whatever happened to the language?

  18. Common sense prepping is how I grew up but it wasn’t called that. It was having “extras” on hand for emergencies but now for me it’s taking it a step or two more and looking further down the road in the terms of an extended period of”emergency”. Learning how to make do, use up, wear out and how to replace with out spending oneself into debt. Just keeping a level head and not obsessing over the end of the world possibilities, YES, be concerned and preparing but NOT to the exclusion of all else in one’s life.

  19. Using common sense to prep for me means consider a few different options. Always have a plan B because things often don’t go how you planned. Prep with your limitations in mind. Mine is space since I’m in a small apartment, so I keep that in mind. It just makes sense also to prep within your means. If you spend so much time taking care of your your prepping plans and items and don’t enjoy life, it’s not really worth it.

  20. Common sense prepping is prepping without putting your family out or making them feel prepping comes first and they are a close second..

  21. Having extra food, medicines, blankets is my idea of being prepared. Have your bug in supplies in place before you invest in those pricey bug out supplies.

  22. Common sense prepping is a lfe style. In my youth, Scouting got my attention and formed much of my attitude. The motto “Be Prepared” is not just a slogan. Trying to anticipate problems and be ready for them is a mindset that works if your face isn’t buried in a plastic object for entertainment, because for most of us situational awareness is a perishable skill that can take a long time to learn. I was lucky to grow up a G.I. Brat, where we never had a lavish life, and learned how to adapt.

  23. Common sense prepping is taking the steps to be sure you and your family are safe in an emergency, without disrupting everyday life. You have a normal life, you do regular things, but you also have a backup plan in case SHTF.

  24. I am not going to repeat what everyone else has said as they are all valid points to consider. I would simply say that common sense is an individual trait and some have some and some have none. Prepping is preparing for a possible emergency in one’s own way. Enough said.

  25. Common sense = not fear based, don’t go into debt, evaluate what realistic situations you may face, not just SHTF, educate yourself, make a plan, work on it step by step and still enjoy life.

  26. Common sense is something that you have or don’t have. If you have it it would mean having good judgement, good thinking ability,using reason and applying it in everyday life and in special circumstances.

  27. For me it would be easier to describe what common sense prepping is NOT: it is not running out and blowing my whole credit card limit on a year’s worth of emergency food. It’s not stockpiling 50 high

  28. For me it would be easier to describe what common sense prepping is NOT: it is not running out and blowing my whole credit card limit on a year’s worth of emergency food. It’s not stockpiling 50 high powered rifles and thousands or rounds of ammo and not paying my bills. It’s also not selling my home to buy a bug-out-cabin in the mountains & taking my emergency food and my stockpile of weapons and living prmitavely up there…especially when I don’t even know how to dig a latrine.

  29. To me, common sense prepping is having a plan, a budget and sticking to it, and having alternate/solar sources of heat and power, and practice.

  30. Thank you for the giveaway. Also for promoting sensible prepping…It’s hard sometimes to escape the perception most people have of the crazy prepper worrying about the zombie apocalypse instead of worrying about his next mortgage.

    • To me sensible prepping is prepping for realistic events that are likely to occur in your area. Also prepping within your means. If you are not financially stable enough to build an underground bunker or buy some farmland in the country…then don’t do it. There are multiple ways to prepare that don’t include going into debt.

  31. Common-sense prepping involves being realistic about your budget and what might befall you, stocking up only on those foods you’ll actually eat, maintaining your OPSEC, and gaining new skills while practicing those you already have.

  32. Common sense prepping is getting things you use day to day, more quickly than they are consumed, so as to always have a rainy day stash. Also, becoming more self reliant is beneficial to your health & pocket book.

  33. We are all “preppers” whether we admit it or not. Anyone who has an insurance policy is preparing for a disaster that may never come. So, wouldn’t that make most of our present society “preppers?” No one laughs at someone for having insurance. However, if someone buys $4,000,000 worth of insurance for a $40,000 home, they would be ridiculed, and rightly so. Preparing, on any level, should be done sensibly. And it should be something we all do.

  34. Common sense for me is being able to take care of ourselves after unexpected problems come up, or expected ones like hurricanes.

  35. Common sense prepping is preparing for future event you hope never happens. In the mean time one has supplies on hand for everyday tasks and food one has canned, dried, or stored fresh that the family eats daily.

  36. I think that common sense prepping is evaluating what emergencies are more likely to happen and to make sure that those are covered, rather than haphazardly buying random stuff which is expensive and might never get used. That is not to say that all of the basics shouldn’t be covered…

  37. There is an old Vermont saying … “common sense ain’t.”

    It looks like there may be a revival … just in time. Buying a few extras when shopping to add to the pantry makes sense, Common Sense.

  38. No matter where you live, mother nature has in the past, and will in the future, have something in store for your neighborhood. Hurricanes in the south, tornadoes where I live, earth quakes in the west, ice storms in the north. Anyone that is not prepared for these disasters are not using “common sense preparedness”.

  39. Common sense prepping: Using common sense everyday and looking toward future needs. If I buy it, we need it. I buy two, one for today, one for the future. Keeping supplies safe, dry and cool are essential … common sense!

  40. Common sense prepping is not going overboard and causing a financial burden on you or your family. Add an extra item or few items to your grocery cart every week so you don’t even notice the additional cost. For larger items, set aside the money before making the purchase.

  41. Common sense prepping to me is just like all sensible action. Move in a positive direction at a pace you can sustain until you complete the goal. Planning, purchasing and learning are all part of the program and with consistency can be accomplished sooner than you think. The trick is to set smaller goals within the large plan so you can enjoy your achievements as you go because you will never truly be prepared for everything. But you can sure be much better off soon.

  42. To me common sense prepping is about learning as much as you can about survival in a lot of different situations. Knowledge and skills will do you more good then then the most expensive and elaborate gear will especially if you don’t know how to use it. It’s also about staying focused on the essentials – food, water, shelter and safety.

  43. When prepping, common sense would tell you that you should first determine those situations which you are most likely to experience. Then as you prep, within your budget, you look for items and equipment which would carry you through that experience. All the better if you have items that would also be useful in other situations or back-up items for some of the most critical needs (water, fire, etc.). Also, it’s very important to learn and practice the skills you will need in order to survive likely situations. Also, be prepared for the possibility of having to bug out as opposed to bugging in.

  44. Common sense prepping is learning about the potential issues that could affect the immediate environment of the places you frequent most, and then getting together a basic prep and plan for those situations. It’s continuing to learning new life skills that will benefit you and your family. It’s about being responsible when you’re a parent and making sure you have a way to keep your kids safe in an emergency. There really is no excuse for anyone NOT to do some type of basic prepping.

  45. Common sense prepping is doing the best with what you have and your current situation. I’m an urban apartment dweller, it doesn’t make sense for me to store 50 lbs of wheat. I live simply and store food and water enough to get us through a hurricane related power and/or water shortage.

    I try to have productive hobbies like quilting and knitting, and enjoy channeling my inner MacGuyver to solve potential problems.

  46. Common sense prepping to me is doing things that will do you some actual good in an emergency, not going whole hog and stocking up on so much stuff that your normal lifestyle suffers as a result. You do what you can with what you have…

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