A Bare Bones List of Basics for Beginner Preppers

Thursday night I was honored to be Sylvia Britton’s guest on the 21st Century Homekeeper for May 3, 2012. I was on the following Thursday as well for 21st Century Homekeeper for May 10, 2012.

Several weeks ago, when we made the show arrangements for the first show, she asked me to send her a list of basic essentials for survival.

Once I sat down to put it together, it didn’t take that long. I sent her the list which appears below, as bare bones as it is. I figured it would be scratch notes to work from. To my surprise, Sylvia had high praise for it as one of the best lists she’s seen for beginner preppers.

Much of what’s on it is simple, common sense. Some of what I jotted down was influenced by guests I’ve interviewed on DestinySurvival Radio. Info gleaned from Selco’s One Year in Hell course provided further input.

The list isn’t necessarily in order of priority either. You might put water above food. Sylvia and I agree that having a Bible is definitely a priority item.

See what you think.


Recommended Necessities for Preppers

  • Provision for adequate shelter. (Broad subject–Know how to stay warm or cool, as well as dry.)
  • Food for your survival pantry–Whatever you can get that’s healthful.
  • Water supply–Store it or know a source. Water filtration system like Berkey.
  • First Aid Kit–Adventure Medical Kit with items categorized. Medications for family members. Extra bandages & sanitation supplies.
  • Adequate clothing for the seasons. Accommodate growing children. Extra shoes for all.
  • Gardening supplies–Seeds, fertilizer & soil supplementation, good hand tools.
  • Survival library.
  • School materials for home schooling.
  • Games for the family.
  • Bible.


Sylvia and I made it through several of the above items during the first show, but we didn’t cover it all. So we resumed with the second show for a little over half the hour.

My list did indeed serve as conversation prompters. For example, under the topic of food, during the first show Sylvia mentioned her experimentation with dehydrating homemade meals. In the second show we went into a little more in depth about gardening supplies and seeds.

If I were to add something else to the list, it would be cash or some sort of negotiable currency. Items for self defense could also be included. We talked about these briefly in the second show. Sylvia mentioned emergency kits, too.

During that May 10th show, we expanded on what might be included in a survival library. While I recommend books here all the time for that, only a couple came to mind at that moment. Sylvia came to the rescue with her own list. Some are books I’ve mentioned here previously.

I hope you’ll listen to the shows Sylvia and I did by clicking on them in the paragraph at the top of this post.

Incidentally, subscribers to the “DestinySurvival Dispatch” receive a bonus e-book called “Advice for New Preppers.” It’s a compilation of thoughts from some of my readers as to what advice they’d give to new preppers. If you’re not already a subscriber, sign up at the top of the sidebar on this page, and you’ll get this little e-book.

So what do you think? What would you add to the list above? What would you leave out? Leave your comment below and let others know.


Author: John Wesley Smith

John Wesley Smith writes and podcasts from his home in Central Missouri. His goal is to help preppers as he continues along his own preparedness journey.

4 thoughts on “A Bare Bones List of Basics for Beginner Preppers”

  1. How about some ability to start a fire (to cook, boil water, sanitize stuff, etc), defensive capabilities (guns or less lethal implements), power/energey production (fuel for the car, solar charger), and so on?

    1. Good suggestions. There’s no end of it once you get started with such a list. One of the things Sylvia and I talked about was having alternative ways of preparing food, such as a fire pit.

  2. People that pack a bible and no weapons usually wind up eating their bible or using it as a blunt weapon.

    Sadly True

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