4 Essential Prepper Skills you’ll need To Survive Any Disaster


In the preparedness community, there is a lot of talk about prepper “skills” that will be needed during a SHTF scenario. These topics usually involve things like gardening, firearms knowledge, caring for livestock and many others. These are great skills to learn, especially if you can use them in your daily life and not just in a disaster scenario.


Sometimes though, it’s easy to get swept away into creating this sort of “wish list” of skills. Although these skills are great, things like lock picking and archery aren’t going to make dealing with most disasters much easier. There are however, 4 key skills that will. These skills are already present within all preppers, they’re the reason we ARE preppers. It’s our responsibility as modern survivalists to continue to hone these skills so that when disaster does strike, we’ll be ready for it.

Hoarders are not Preppers – Organization is Life!


Organizational skills are incredibly important for any prepper. Many people living the preparedness lifestyle get the unfair label of “hoarder” attached to them simply because we stockpile many things that aren’t “necessary” in the minds of a lot of “normal” people. While typically the opinions of “normal” people don’t mean a whole lot to me, this is something we should keep in mind when it comes to stockpiling.

It’s a fine line between prepper and hoarder… and organization is how that line is defined. Organizing your supplies is important because not only will a properly organized stockpile make things much simpler during a disaster (when you’ll actually need those supplies) but organization is really the only way you can keep track of how long your preps can last.


Prepping is all about self-sufficiency. We measure self-sufficiency in terms of time. A family of four goes through 12 individual meal servings per day. If your preps have enough supplies to create 360 meals, then you are 30 days self-sufficient on food. If your pantry and preps aren’t properly organized and labeled there’s really no telling how much food you have, which foods you’re using in your food rotation and which foods you need to buy. Here are some helpful checklists and calculators to help you plan and organize your food preps better.


Food Storage Calculator
The one Year Emergency Food Supply List
Canned Goods Inventory List



I Led You Here Sir… For I am Spartacus!


It doesn’t matter if you’re facing a personal disaster like a job-loss, or you’re facing down the inevitable hordes of angry mutant biker gangs after life as we know it ceases to exist; Leadership is the only way you’re going to thrive during any disaster. I truly feel that anyone that has started on the path of preparedness and self-sufficiency is a natural-born leader. It took you making an active decision to start prepping. No one made it for you, and you’re definitely not getting any support from the rest of the still-sleeping society around you. YOU had to make that decision and YOU have to be the one to walk down that road. That makes you a leader in my mind, even if you’re only leading yourself.


What a lot of us need to work on though is leading other people. In a disaster scenario, it’s unlikely that you’ll be completely alone. You’ll have family members, friends, neighbors, first responders and a whole population of unprepared people that you’ll have to deal with in some way or another. Taking leadership of your group or even just your family really could be the difference between life and death. You are probably the most prepared to handle the situation properly. This is what you’ve planned for, what you’ve trained for. Take the people with you under your wing and guide them. Do not let hysteria and paranoia take over as these emotions are cancers that can turn a disaster into a nightmare very quickly.


Here is a great pdf document that talks about the proper way to help and lead survivors of a disaster:

Helping Survivors Recover from the Emotional Aftermath of a Disaster




Situational Awareness, or in other words, you can’t bury your head in the sand


You’ve probably heard a lot about a term called Situational Awareness. Typically it’s discussed alongside topics like self-defense and tactical training. While these are important skills to be learning to be sure, situational awareness goes much deeper than that. Situational Awareness is actually the reason you became a prepper. Everyone has their own story of how they started with preparedness, but there is one common thread among all of us. We’re aware that there is something wrong with the world. We’re aware that modern systems of support are extremely fragile and that there are literally thousands of situations that could cause any or all of them to fail. We’re aware that most of society is asleep at the wheel, and that if disaster ever does strike, we really only have ourselves to depend on.


Raising your level of situational awareness is critical for preparedness. As mentioned earlier, situational awareness from a self-defense perspective could literally save your life even if a large SHTF disaster never happens. Violent crimes, thefts and accidents don’t usually wait for big disasters to happen. Even outside of the defensive world though, you have to know what’s going on around you; in your daily life, in your neighborhood, in your state, in your country and in your world. All of the events of today could be spark that ignites a serious disaster, whether that’s on a personal, local or global scale.


Here are some great articles about the many levels and areas of situational awareness:


How will you know ahead of time if your company is going belly up?
A practical guide to defensive situational awareness
Using Google Alerts to stay ahead of disasters


Keepin’ it real


There are far too many people in the preparedness community that think the definition of prepping begins and ends with “Doomsday” or TEOTWAWKI. They’re apparently blind to any disaster that doesn’t involve an AR-15 or 752 ways of starting a fire. That’s not prepping… that’s daydreaming. Being realistic is probably one of the most important skills or mindsets a prepper can have.

Here are a few examples of what being a realistic prepper means:

  • You don’t put thousands of dollars on credit cards to buy guns and buckets of Mountain House food
  • You don’t have fanciful notions about living in “the wild” using your “survival skills” once the S hits the fan
  • You don’t make plans to walk hundreds of miles to a remote bugout location when you’re 100 pounds overweight.
  • You don’t spend your day trying to convince everyone on Facebook of the latest conspiracy theory
  • You don’t forget about your debts because you think they’ll be wiped out when the zombies come
  • You don’t think about taking over and crowning yourself king of the local Wal-Mart when disaster strikes.
  • You don’t carry 2 ARs, 7 pistols, 49 knives and 3 Super Soakers filled with OC spray as your EDC kit.


Being a prepper is all about being realistic. It’s unrealistic to think that any of us have a crystal ball and know what’s going to happen tomorrow. Despite what people like Alex Jones might say, no one knows. We could face Doomsday tomorrow or we could go on for the rest of our lives without any major disasters. Most likely though, reality will probably fall somewhere in the middle. Planning for any one event is unrealistic, which is why prepping isn’t about planning for Doomsday, it’s simply about planning and being ready to survive without systems of support no matter if that means something as simple as running out of sugar or as dire as facing the end of the world head on.

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  1. Echo

    oh boy that’s a good article. totally loved your examples of a realistic prepper!! i’ve actually talked to people who think totally opposite of those examples.

    i don’t really think that “doomsday” or “TEOTWAWKI” is going to happen. but?? i am prepping, planning for at least 6 months. and actually having 6 months worth of food on hand isn’t all that crazy is it??

    in a way it wouldn’t be a completely bad thing for this country to start over again. but i am probably delusional thinking that we could all learn from all the mistakes made by our government and us and make this a better place to live.

    1. Ready4ItAll

      Thanks Echo! Glad you liked the article.
      Honestly I think everyone has their own threshold of risk, which determines how long they need to be prepared to be off the grid or without access to supplies for. Personally I live in a very small apartment so I’m only about 30 days self-sufficient….but… that’s 30 days for everything. Income, food, water, electricity…you name it. Once we buy our house we’ll obviously be ramping that up big time. Eventually id love to be self-sufficient for about 6 months and self-reliant for at least 25% of my food, water and electricity if not more.

      Thanks so much for your feedback!
      Rick – ready4itall.org

  2. Echo

    i live in an rv so there is hardly any room here for prepping. i rented a small storage room when i parked the rv here so that i could have some place for odds and ends plus seasonal stuff. and all my tent camping gear. so i keep my prepping in there. it’s not even 1/2ml down the road from me and is easily gotten to. it’s working out great for me. if for whatever reason i have to hook up and leave everything will go into the rv and into the back of the truck.

  3. arkansawyer

    OK, seriously, I quit carrying the 3 super soakers last week, and I was only kidding about making walmart my zombie-defense base.

    1. Ready4ItAll

      lol thanks for your comment arkansawyer!

  4. Leonard

    I think more preppers should meet or email each other. I have bee ready every sence my dad told me it was coming back in 1960. I was born on a dairy farm & grew up on a ranch. I learned a lot of things. Hunting, archery,(shot for BEAR archery for 7 years) sailing, scuba diving, welding, carpentry, electrical, metal lathe, & at least 100 other things trapping, tanning hides, leather tooling, re-loading all ammo. I would like to find a few more people to join me on my ranch IF it happens. I just do not know that much about computers to doo it. I would like 40 or 50 people to join me on my 194 acres.

    1. Ready4ItAll

      Hi Leonard, thank you for your comment. If you are looking to interact with some local preppers I would suggest hitting up Jack Spirko’s new forum http://walkingtofreedom.com/forum/. Great place to find some local, like-minded preppers.

      thanks again!

    2. Traci

      Hi Leonard!

      I just wanted to touch base with you to see if you may be anywhere close to my part of the country (western NE or eastern IA). I have a few skills and new hobbies that I am starting to take up that may make for some great bartering and sharing of ideas!

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