The Prepper’s Blueprint Will Help You Map Out Your Prepping Strategy

Architects and builders depend on blueprints to do their jobs. The Prepper’s Blueprint will help you map out your prepping strategy. On this week’s DestinySurvival Radio, I spoke with its author, Tess Pennington.


The Blueprint’s Drafter

I knew about Tess because she’s been on DestinySurvival Radio before to talk about her first book, The Prepper’s Cookbook. I’d seen quotes from her and The Prepper’s Blueprint in recent months and thought it was time to have her back on the program to talk about it. She was kind enough to take some time out from visiting relatives in Texas so we could record this week’s conversation. Below is a little more about her.


Since 2007, Tess Pennington, founder of Ready Nutrition, has focused on educating the public on topics including disaster preparedness, natural living, homesteading, emergency food pantries, food storage and ultimately self-reliance. She is formally trained in emergency and disaster management response with the American Red Cross.


Tess is also the best-selling author of two preparedness books: The Prepper’s Blueprint: The Step-By-Step Guide To Help You Through Any Disaster and The Prepper’s Cookbook, which has sold over 10,000 copies.


The Blueprint’s Design


The Prepper's Blueprint


This is a large book–well over 400 pages. It’s not a book you’ll toss in your backpack to take with you on a hiking trip. But it is one you’ll want in your survival library.

This is a comprehensive book to help you map out your preparedness strategy. It was about four years in the making and evolved from Tess’s online series, 52 Weeks to Preparedness. She got a great deal of positive feedback from people who wanted the information in book form. Therefore, she wrote The Prepper’s Blueprint and took the opportunity to expand on a number of subjects. She has drawn from an array of sources and has reproduced info in some sections from other preparedness experts.

The book is divided into three main parts.

  • Layer 1 (Chapters 1-14)–Immediate needs
  • Layer 2 (Chapters 15-31)–Short term preparedness
  • Layer 3 (Chapters 32-55)–Long term preparedness


As the layering of sections suggests, the information gets more in depth as you go further into the book. Quite a few chapters revisit subjects covered in earlier chapters.

Topics covered include…

  • Planning
  • Food storage and preserving
  • Water filtration and storage
  • Tools and hardware
  • Medical and dental supplies
  • Emergency communications
  • Pet preparedness
  • 72-hour bag
  • Evacuation
  • Sanitation
  • Home security and self defense
  • Emergency fuel supply
  • Alternative power
  • Lighting
  • Pandemic preparedness
  • Fitness and nutrition
  • Gardening and livestock
  • Financial preparedness
  • Survival Caches
  • Preparing for nuclear disaster and EMP
  • Spiritual and mental preparedness
  • Charity
  • Bartering anc community


You’ll find common sense guidance throughout the book. It has plenty of checklists, action items, recommended items to buy, supplemental information and resources.


The Blueprint’s Details

Allow me to share a few of my thoughts about this book and give a few hints of what Tess and I talked about.

Using the blueprint–I suggest taking time to get familiar with the book. Read it. Then follow Tess’s advice and start by making a plan. Ask yourself what disasters might occur in your local area. What other things should you be prepared for? The state of the economy is of great concern for many of us.

Next, expand your prepping strategy and efforts. Set goals, but don’t expect to accomplish all of your prepping in six months or even a year. A lot will depend on your particular situation. That may sound vague, but it really does start with you and your assessment of the needs for preparedness right where you are.

Prepping guidance from the past–A number of chapters start with interesting glimpses into history. For example, the chapter on pantry basics starts with a list of supplies pioneers would need to take on the Oregon Trail. Other chapters begin with personal stories or testimonials.

Those short hhistorical tidbits are there to serve as lessons to us that history can repeat itself. Thus, the need to be prepared.

Prepping in the here and now–Several times in the book Tess says to check to see what food and supplies you already have on hand. You may have more at the ready than you realize. And there may be other uses for tools and supplies, which you hadn’t thought of. It’s not necessary to approach prepping as if you have to buy everything new.

A taste of Op Sec–In one chapter Tess gives tips on stealth cooking, which will come in handy in a grid-down scenario if you don’t want to give yourself away in the event others around you don’t have food.

Tools–A few chapters focus on tools to have. Of course, having the right tools is important. Don’t go with the cheapest ones. If something breaks and you can’t replace the tool or one of its parts, you’re out of luck.

The Bug Out Bag–The chapter on putting together a 72-hour bag doesn’t appear as soon as you might expect. Other prepping should come first. However, when you see this chapter, you’ll note it’s like a mini-prepper course.

Bug in or bug out?–If you shelter in place, are you prepared to defend yourself? If you bug out, have you planned adequately? Are you physically up to the rigors of leaving home?

Communications–Info on communications mentions quite a bit about ham radio. It includes a link to the ARRL (Amateur Radio Relay League), which is an excellent resource.

Pets–Find helpful info on pet preparedness. For example, your pets need at least two weeks of food and supplies, just like you and the rest of your family.

Financial preparedness–Finances and the economy are a big concern to so many of us these days. I’m glad Tess writes about these things. She even includes guidance on making the right kind of investments.

Tess writes about having a change of attitude concerning possessions, use of time, and how we live our lives in general. It’s important to simplify our lives and make them more efficient.

You may be held back by lack of funds to buy the prepping supplies you’d like to have. That’s where planning comes in. Work on getting out of debt and reach toward your preparedness goals as best as you can.

Spiritual and mental preparedness–If you and I are to have a mindset geared toward survival, this area of prepping is a must. Prepping has less to do with things than what’s in our heads and hearts.

Tess admits that when she started prepping, she went into a dark place. I appreciate her admission because prepping can indeed become depressing. We each simply need to take a look at reality, admit how things are, and put things in proper perspective so we can move forward. Otherwise you’ll suffer what tess calls doomer fatigue.

Remember, if you’re reading this, the end of the world hasn’t happened yet. There’s still hope for you to go forward on your preparedness journey.

Medical supplies and first aid–When it comes to medical matters, Tess gives a great deal of info on supplies to have, including dental supplies. Dental health shouldn’t be underestimated. But she goes beyond all that to make recommendations about healthful eating and being less stressed.

Sanitation–The importance of good sanitation in a survival situation is another matter which should not be underestimated.

Pandemic preparedness–Is Tess concerned about Ebola coming to the U.S.? If it isn’t what brings about a pandemic here, what could? Find out by listening to our conversation.

Hiding your stuff–Since caching is important for long term prepping, Tess passes along helpful tips on that, too. For example, set aside the means to filter water because it’s not practical to cache water.

Preparing for nuclear disaster–The chapter on nuclear disaster includes mention of Fukushima, which the mainstream media completely ignores. And you won’t want to miss the brief note about a plant that serves as nature’s radiation detector.

Bartering–As you might expect in a book of this magnitude, you’ll find a list of suggested items for bartering. Of course, Tess reminds us not to overlook skills and services you and I can use for trade.

Personal defense and security–There’s no doubt Tess is pro gun. Among other things, you’ll find ten commandments for gun safety. If you’re considering body armor, there’s info on that, too.

Something uniqueThe Prepper’s Blueprint includes a section on a topic I’ve never seen covered in any other preparedness book. You’ll have to listen to our conversation to find out what it is. I can tell you this. It’s controversial, and I think it’s one of the coolest things put into a book like this. I hope Tess keeps it in any future editions.


Find Out More…

It’s books like this one which reaffirm my notion not to write my own book on prepping. If you need more how-to info, you need this book in your survival library. I’d much rather promote Tess’s book or other books from authors I’ve spoken with.

Meanwhile, please listen to my conversation with Tess Pennington by hearing DestinySurvival Radio for September 18, 2014. (Right click to download.) Order Tess’s book wherever you see the title linked in this post. Visit her web site at for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.

The Prepper’s Blueprint is available in print only now, but a Kindle version is forthcoming. Of course, as you may know, I’m definitely a proponent of print. Books will be around when the Internet and our battery powered electronic devices aren’t.


A Giveaway for The Prepper’s Blueprint

The giveaway ended September 30, 2014. I asked readers to leave a comment at the end of this post. On September 30th I picked a winner using the number generator at The number 5 came up. Kevin was the fifth person to leave a comment below. I’ve contacted him, and arrangements have been made to send him his prize. Thanks to each of you who entered, and congratulations, Kevin.

My sincere thanks to Tess Pennington for letting me give away a copy of The Prepper’s Blueprint to someone in my audience. And even though the giveaway is over, feel free to share your thoughts about anything you’ve read here or heard in our DestinySurvival Radio conversation.


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.

7 thoughts on “The Prepper’s Blueprint Will Help You Map Out Your Prepping Strategy”

  1. Very comprehensive. Sounds like a book that everyone in the family needs to read and become familiar with asap. After all, it’s not a matter of “if” we will have a disaster of some kind, but “when.”I in which case, the information in this book would be invaluable.

  2. The 52 week plan was a great guideline and useful way to pace yourself and budget. Since this book is essentially a more comprehensive and thorough version of that format it should prove to be quiet useful.

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