You went out and bought the latest backpack and a white gas stove that will work on top of Mt. Everest. You bought the newest sleep system, all the best cold weather gear, freeze dried food, water filter, a great survival knife, and the latest .22 survival rifle that breaks down and fits into its own stock and lots of ammo to go with it. You’re ready for the zombie wars. You put the bag in a corner of your closet ready to go and two years later there it sits…
Then one night there’s a flood or (choose your disaster scenario here) and you’ve got to bug out. For whatever reason you have to go on foot, so you run to the closet, grab your BOB and throw it on your back and head out. You’ve got enough food, water, and gear for a week and you know you’re going to be ok, but a half-mile down the road the straps from that 55 lb bag start to dig into your shoulders and your hips are burning from the waist strap. Your breath is coming in ragged gasps and it feels like someone is raking broken glass across your lungs. You realize you’re sporting an extra ten or fifteen pounds yourself and the walk you used to be able to do with your pack with no problem is now kicking your ass and you realize you’re in big trouble.
You’ve got to get out there and test your gear and skills, folks. Having the bug-out-bag in the corner is great, but if you haven’t picked it up recently and taken it for a walk you might be surprised at just how heavy it is when you have to take it on a ten or more mile hike.
In order to be ready you have to practice practice practice!
Other Components of Successful Prepping
There are several components to being a prepper that need to be looked at above and beyond piling cans of food in the basement.
1. Physical fitness means exercise and proper diet and nutrition. You needn’t be a marathon runner or power lifter, but keeping physically fit can be achieved simply by walking a few miles every day mixed in with some calisthenics. We used to call them the Daily Seven when I was in the Corps. The exercises change from place to place, but you can get an idea by following the link and checking them out.
There are many different diets on the market today, but if you eat 2000 calories a day with lots of fruit, vegetables, lean meats, and some whole grains you should do ok. I won’t harp on diet here, but if you’re diet consists of pizza, chips, and beer you might want to do a Google search on proper diet and nutrition and do a little reading.
2. Keep your skills honed. Go camping and actually use your gear. Use your stove to boil water. Use a firesteel to light a fire. Set up your tent and sleeping bag to make sure you still know how and ensure that the equipment is in good working order. Use your survival saw to cut some wood and use your knife to split it. Shoot your pistol and assemble the survival .22 and use it to kill your dinner.
If you’re going out for a walk with your wife and kids throw on your backpack. When people ask what the heck you’re doing say, “I’m working out,” or “I’m getting prepared for a long hike this summer,” or whatever. Don’t let the fear of looking silly stop you.
Over the years I’ve met many people who didn’t have the first idea about how to survive outside a city or suburb, much less in the wilderness. This doesn’t make them bad people, but they should recognize what it is they don’t know and take steps to remedy it.
3. Psychological – Are you a survivor? Are you willing to undergo certain hardships in order to live through what may be a difficult situation? You might think this is a silly question, but I’ve talked with many people who have said, “I’d rather just die than live without electricity or suffer without all my material things.”
Hey Jarhead! Do you put your money where your mouth is?
Well, I try. I do a three mile hike with my GHB (Get Home Bag) at least three times a week. I lift weights and try to eat a semi-healthy diet. On the weekends I like to take my 3 old out in the woods, so he can see what it’s like to live with very little. He’s never seen me start a fire with a match and I doubt he’d know what one is as I always use a firesteel out there. Of course it helps that I live about twenty feet away from a 1000 or more acre forest, but that’s not an accident.
At least once a month I use my generator to run the house to make sure it’s working the way it’s supposed to.
I read and keep up on current events and try to keep a situational awareness of what’s happening the world.
Let’s admit it. Very few people are perfect when it comes to doing all these things including me, but if you at least make an effort to do something – anything – it’s better than doing nothing at all.
A good way to do this is by doing things on a schedule. Take your calendar for the year and write down the things you need to do. For example, I usually do my generator test at the end of every month. I write it down so that when I look at the calendar I know that it’s time to run the test.
Make working out part of your daily routine. Skip lunch and go for a quick walk or find a place to do some pull ups and push ups. Yeah, it’s hard at first, but over time it gets easier and pretty soon you’ll be feeling good.
Do you test yourself and your gear? Are you ready?
Sound off below.