Prepper Metrics – How Did You Do In 2018?

Jodie Weston Jodie Weston  |  Updated: December 22, 2021
Prepper Metrics – How Did You Do In 2018?

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There is an undeniably hokey and campy feeling to some aspects of prepping. When you get to the topic of zombie survival and things that are on the most radical fringes, in particular. I have spent a lot of time thinking about this fringe element of the prepping movement. When I meet these folks at shows they are often full of laughs and out of shape.

Prepping is a serious endeavor but for some, it’s simply a hobby. Whether they want to admit that or not is irrelevant. The idea of prepping is very exciting and being a person in that fringe group, thanks to pop culture, has become somewhat appealing to the eccentric.

Any prepping is better than no prepping. Still, are you goal oriented or are you someone who is just along for the ride? I am asking you, the reader, to think about this. You might be a hobby prepper and not even know it!

How can you tell?

I think Paul Arden said it best:

“It’s not how good you are its how good you want to be”

Are you endeavoring to be a better prepper or are you happy with the things you have amassed? Do you feel untouchable and do you flaunt the fact that you are a prepper? More importantly, are you measuring your preparedness levels? Are you doing anything to figure out how much better you are doing year over year?

That is a lot of work and it takes some time and some tools. Still, it can be done! Every business owner and homeowner do some form of measurement for improvement. If not, they will quickly fall into debt or go out of business. It’s just something we have to do to get better.

Metrics are necessary tools to measure anything. You must have metrics in order to assure you are measuring the right things. So, what do prepper metrics look like?

We have two sets of metrics that are worth discussing and thinking about your own life. These are hard and soft metrics. The hard metrics are those by which survival in the face of any disaster would be a serious struggle without. The soft metrics are those which bolster the hard. They are just as important to your overall preparedness but difficult to measure.

prepper metrics



Measuring your food storage is very simple. You just create a baseline of caloric intake for your family. For a family with two kids, I like to have a baseline of 7,000 calories per day. That is 2500 for each parent and 1,000 per child. I know this is a lot for a woman and maybe a lot of some kids but it’s a nice round number and it makes measuring your stockpile very easy.

If you don’t want to go back and start counting calories just do it with all the new items, you buy from now on. If you ended the year with 2 weeks of food or 28,000 calories you can easily increase that by using the 7000 calories per week metric.


Water has another very simple metric. Its rock solid and you can measure where you stand using 4 gallons of water a day for a family of four. That is about as easy as it gets. That means you are going to need 120 gallons of water for a month of survival.

This should come from a number of methods. Don’t try to store 120 gallons of water in your home. Don’t forget, two 55-gallon rain barrels will provide you with nearly a months’ worth of water! That’s an investment and a metric that makes sense.


Power is an interesting one, but it can be measured using watts. I recommend everyone have a means of generating power off the grid. It’s not something you have to use all day, but you should have the ability to turn to it when the power goes out.

Measuring your effectiveness in terms of power is easy. You start by choosing which items you need to be powered during a disaster. You can easily calculate the watts needed by searching that information based on your unit.

Then you need to have the power to make those run. Add power with more solar panels or a more powerful generator.

First Aid

About 95% of first aid kits on the market are just a bunch of band-aids, some ointments, and variety of small single use medicines. If you have a headache or fever for more than 3 days, you will likely run out of the meds in most kits. If your family all has the flu, you will burn through this stuff in a hurry.

Most kits don’t even contain rolled gauze.

Here is the reality. Most people don’t have time to build a proper first aid kit. They don’t have the time to learn what to put inside.

When it comes to first aid, you should measure your preparedness on a per person level. 4 packs of ibuprofen are not going to be what you need. Invest in a high quality, whole family, first aid kit.


This is a very vague topic and it makes the metrics for it very tough. You see, security can be as simple as a shotgun or as complex as a host of cameras and locks. The best way to think about it is to deter the criminals of the outside world from the time they step on your street till the time they approach your bedroom door.

Your metrics are the deterrents.

  • How does your home look from the street?
  • Is your yard well lit or easy to traverse in shadow?
  • Do you have cameras or signs to deter people?
  • Are your windows all locking?
  • Do you have quality, reinforced door locks?
  • Do you have alarms
  • What do you have to protect yourself if someone gets in your home and attempts to hurt you?


Every year we watch thousands of Americans rush from their homes in an impromptu evacuation. Why on earth are we doing impromptu evacuations?

Look at your EVAC situation and consider what would happen if you had to leave right now. What can you improve about that plan in 2019?

  • Checklists
  • Bags
  • Documentation
  • Sentimental Affects
  • Cash

Can you check all of these? If not, you are in need of some improvement.



The skill game is a quality over quantity affair. It doesn’t matter if you started a fire once, filtered water once and made wild medicine one time, a decade ago. Focus on the skills that you can do often. Repetition is the preppers best friend.

Look at the skills you need to be successful in your environment as well. No point in knowing all about urban survival skills if you live on 100 acres. Skills are all about practice, practice, practice.

First, make a list of these skills you need to improve and then make a schedule for practice. That is measuring what you need and putting a plan in place to achieve those goals.



Intelligence sounds like a very exciting world that evokes drones and satellites.

Keep it simple. You need to know what is happening in the outside world no matter what the disaster has done. In other words, you need an emergency radio. Something that is solar powered or hand crank or both is a great option, as well.

You can go much farther and much deeper, but you should be prepared with an emergency radio at least.


It’s very difficult to measure plans. You have to be truthful with yourself about the plans and if they will work in a true disaster. Prepping is as much about written, hard copy, plans as it is about anything you can buy.

You should first consider the threats and events that can affect your region. In other words, let’s plan a fire route before we plan a nuclear disaster bugout plan. Take care of regional disasters first. Get those plans suited up. Start with a golden evacuation plan

  • Where are you going?
  • What are you taking?
  • Who is coming?
  • How are you getting there?

Written plans are not only great reminders for you, but they should be built thoroughly. This is because, you might be dead, and your family will need to know what you meant in your plans. Remember, you are only as strong as your weakest link.


This was an effort put together both for my thoughts and future goals and to spur your own. You just don’t know what you are capable of if you are prepping in the dark. In my humble opinion, you are doing just that if you are not measuring your change year over year.

Something we didn’t touch on is philosophical change. This needs to be considered. Let’s say in 2018 you were big on survival gadgetry and in 2019 you take a minimalist or traditionalist route with things like tools for building and survival.  If you have a wholesale change of philosophy, it’s going to affect your progression year over year.

You need to start looking at your disaster preparedness goals as a serious investment. You want to see improvement and you want to rest easy at night. If you live in a fog of buying random survival gear or food at the market, you need to do more measuring.

Do you have enough food for 4 weeks?

Do you have enough water for 3 days?

How long can you power the essentials in your home?

Prepping comes down to simple questions like these. Answer them truthfully and you will both be able to improve and sleep at night knowing you are prepared to take care of your family.

James Walton is the host of the I AM Liberty Show ( a podcast about 21st-century freedom. He is a freelance writer in the prepping and survival niche and likes to keep a healthy balance between prepping and enjoying life.

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7 Responses to “Prepper Metrics – How Did You Do In 2018?”

  1. I personally liked the article and it reminded me to perhaps start setting some goals that I should be aiming for this year. By applying some metrics, I’ll have a better understanding if what I planned, I was able to achieve.

    “For some people, working at their own pace means they will never be prepared”. I guess that might be true for some, but for others it does depend on available funds. Getting a security system or putting together a ham shack can be a work in progress depending on how much money a person has available to spare. Getting together a 3 month stash of diversified food for a family of six would take considerable time to accomplish with only having an extra $20/week to buy items.

    Now working at my own pace, I’ve just put together my own DIY hydroponic system and have lettuce and herbs seedlings sprouting up out of the rockwool cubes. I will have a journal to record, PH, TDS, EC, lighting and so on. I’ll need to learn as I go to troubleshoot problems that will arise. So yeah, set goals and use metrics to gauge your progress. Any prepping is better than no prepping.

  2. Thanks for the input. My articles and podcasts are as much a reminder to myself as they are to readers. Early in the article I mentioned any prepping is better than no prepping at all.

    Since I started prepping I have been a huge fan of the Organic Prepper. Its pretty cool to have you commenting on something I wrote.

    Being the end of the year I just think its important for people to look back at what they have done and think about goals for 2019. Personally it helps me to measure what I am doing. Otherwise I feel like I am shooting in the dark.

    As for the evacuation comment that was actually a typo and a very important one. It should have said, “Why aren’t we doing impromptu evacuations.” This is a cornerstone of my system and a big part of how I am setting up Prepper Broadcasting Network.

    I like the discussion. I like to hear other peoples mindset. That said, I do believe that being prepared is the responsibility of every American. I believe their health is their responsibility, too (those things they can control). For some people, working at their own pace means they will never be prepared.

  3. The comments left here are really thoughtful and helpful.

    I’d like to comment on the final list of metrics in the article:
    “Do you have enough food for 4 weeks?”
    THAT is NOT the question to ask…rather, ask: do you know what is edible in your part of the world…i.e., weeds, bugs, bark, critters to SUPPLEMENT your food supply. While a “field guide” is certainly helpful to have, you’d be much better off actually practicing your foraging skills. Some disasters will last MORE than 4 weeks. Are you assuming someone will come to rescue you when your 4 weeks are up?

    “Do you have enough water for 3 days?”
    Better question to ask: do you own a water filter? Or…Have you ever attempted to create a water filter from materials found in nature? Or…can you meet your water needs by using evaporation techniques? Yes, you CAN “make” water in the desert…but you need to understand “how” that is possible, and maybe even practice it if you live near a desert.

    “How long can you power the essentials in your home?”
    A better question: Do you really need power? There are myriad ways of cooking, bathing, maintaining body warmth, supplying hydration, etc. that do NOT require electricity. Better to ask yourself: what skills do you now possess or can learn that will get you through a total blackout that lasts for weeks, months, or years? Skills CAN be learned…but checking the internet or the local library after grid down is haphazard at best. Find out HOW to survive without power BEFORE you need it.

  4. You say: Why on earth are we doing impromptu evacuations? Really?

    Natural disasters requiring an immediate and unplanned evacuation happen around the world every day. To the best of my knowledge, earthquakes and tsunamis provide no advance warning. Wildfires move very quickly and can shift direction in a heartbeat. And that is just the beginning.

    Being prepard for an impromptu evacuation is one of the cornerstones of prepping. Chiding people for participating in an impromptu evacuation is just plain wrong.

    Life happens. Get real.

  5. I really thought long and hard before making a comment on this article. I hate to go to other people’s websites and be critical. But in the end, once I cooled off a bit, I felt I just had to say something.

    While this was probably well-meaning, it turned out to be pretty discouraging for a lot of folks.

    Friends, don’t let things like “metrics” get you down. Prepping is a process. We’re all at different places in this process. While you may have more water than I do or less water than I do, this does not determine which of us will be able to survive whatever may come.

    There are so many more factors to survival than numbers.

    There’s your mindset. The people you have on the journey with you. The place you live. The things around you. Your skills. Your knowledge.

    None of these things are truly measurable. You do not have to go out and spend thousands of dollars a year to be prepared. Nobody’s situation is ever “perfect.” And any time you thinking you’re really sitting pretty, Mother Nature or Fate will come along and punch you in the face.

    And THAT is what you have to be ready for. That punch in the face that changes everything. Far more essential than metrics is your ability to be adaptable.

    So, if folks are reading this and feeling like they’ve failed, please think about all those things you cannot measure. Think about how much further ahead you are by your mere awareness that bad things can happen. And be positive about what you’ve accomplished – because prepping is nothing if not an act of optimism.

    Every step you’ve taken and everything you’ve learned counts and has made you better prepared.

    You’ve got this!

  6. Dear Mr. Walton, perhaps you did not mean it to be but I found the tone of this article to be judgmental and off-putting. Yes, I am sure that there are some peppers (many of whom are probably newbies) who don’t live up to what seem to be your rather arbitrary standards of how a prepper should look and behave. However, you might want to consider that people deal with stress in different ways. Some people joke as a way to keep from feeling afraid about what could happen if the SHTF, not necessarily because they aren’t taking the subject matter seriously. Remember that those people you criticized in the opening section of your article have at least taken the time to attend a prepping show. Everyone has to start somewhere. Also, although it is certainly better to be in good physical condition, fortunately that is not a requirement for being a “serious” prepper. Everyone can and should prepare, not just the very healthy, young and fit. I disagree with your assertion that a person should not store 120 gallons of water in their home for their family. While rain barrels are certainly good to have (if allowed in your community), in my opinion it is still better to have as much potable water stored inside one’s home as possible. If you can safely store 120 gallons or more of potable water in your home, I believe you should do that. There could come a time when it would be unsafe to go outside to retrieve water, or when your outside water source(s) become contaminated, or your region experiences a drought. Further, one gallon of water per person per day is just the bare minimum you should store for drinking, cooking, and light personal hygiene. If you are going to need to re-hydrate dehydrated or freeze dried foods before cooking them, or if you want to do more than take a quick sponge bath occasionally, you will want to store more water than that. Additionally, you may want to consider increasing the amount of calories-worth of food you are storing for the adults in your family. It is my understanding, for example, that a man doing hard physical work (which may well be required in a SHTF situation) will need to consume a good deal more than 2500 calories a day. As to your comment to the effect that someone who lives on 100 acres doesn’t need to learn all about urban survival skills, well, certainly they need to first learn how to survive in their home environment but they might be on vacation in a city, or driving through one on their way home from a medical appointment (for example), when the SHTF. If that were to happen, they would be very glad they had learned at least some urban survival skills. FYI, I have been prepping for about 20 years now and still learn new things about it every day.

  7. You state in the article: “Here is the reality. Most people don’t have time to build a proper first aid kit. They don’t have the time to learn what to put inside.” I disagree. There is a wealth of information on the web. Bulk supplies are readily available online. “… don’t have time …” is a cop out. If they have time for an hour of TV or online games, they have time to research and time to order supplies. It’s a matter of priority.

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