It’s a common misconception that you have to be rich to afford everything you need to be a prepper. Of course you could easily spend a fortune on getting ready for a catastrophe, but you don’t need to. You would be fine if you are able to make sure to get the basics into your bug-out bag.
There are five basic categories of gear that you’ll need in your prepper kit: food and water, shelter, clothing, tools, and heat. Learn more about the gear you will need in each of these categories below.
Food & Water
To be a prepper, you basically just need some food, and you also need to know how to prepare food and how to get more food. These basics don’t have to be expensive.
For food, it’s a good idea to have high-calorie, high-protein foods. Nuts, trail mix, and freeze dried meals are great options. Try to pack at least 3 days’ worth of food in your bag.
And you’ll need something to heat up your food. Invest in a camping stoves out there. When it comes down to it, all you really need to prepare basic food is a small stove with fuel and a pot or pan.
When it comes to obtaining food, a cheap .22 rifle would work fine for small game. Even if you had a pellet gun, that would be good enough for birds and squirrels.
In addition to these items, water is possibly the most important thing to have among your gear. Luckily, it’s pretty easy to come by. You should have at least a few bottles of water in your bag; additionally, you can easily find a water filter that will work great for under $30.
Shelter can be as expensive or inexpensive as you want. You could easily spend over $600 on a tent, or you can spend $20 to $30 on a heavy duty tarp. Just make sure you learn how to use the tarp properly.
The key to getting good clothing for your prepper kit is knowing the weather in your area. You may have to adjust your wardrobe a little bit as the seasons change, but the same basic principles apply.
If it’s hot outside, have at least a light jacket or long shirt; if it’s cool, have at least a medium weight jacket. But if it is really cold, pack a big coat. A lot of clothes can just come from your closet, but make sure you have something that you can grab and go.
If you’re just starting to prep, there’s nothing wrong with just having very simple tools in your bag. Here’s a multi tool that would be a great start. It’s also not a bad idea to have a simple hatchet to make cutting wood more easy; and a large fixed blade knife as a general tool.
Make sure that you have a flashlight in any prep kit. These can be expensive, but they don’t have to be. You can get one that works just fine for about $10. Also, make sure to have a good first aid kit. For a list of things it should include see our complete list of things included in the best survival kits.
To round out your prepping gear, make sure you have some way to start a fire. If you run out of fuel for your stove, fire can help you cook, and is also a great way to stay warm (obviously).
There are countless ways to start a fire. A cheap and easy way to start a fire every time is lighting cotton balls that have been soaked in petroleum jelly. A cigarette lighter will do the job, and the cotton balls will burn for long enough to light up some sticks.
So there you have it! With a few dollars, you can become a prepper and break the misconception.