Prepping for Normal People: How to Prep When You’re NOT an Epic Wilderness Survival Guru

by | Mar 13, 2019 | Headline News | 39 comments

Do you LOVE America?


    This article was originally published by Daisy Luther at The Organic Prepper

    Did you ever read a blog post on a prepper site and sigh, because the person writing the post seemed to have been born a survivalist?

    In your mind’s eye, you could envision them at the tender age of six, weaving a snare from some vines that they wisely assessed not to be poison ivy, catching a rabbit, skinning and gutting it with a pocketknife, and cooking it over a fire they started with two sticks that they rubbed together, while wearing their little elementary-school-sized camo outfit.

    Discouraging, isn’t it?

    But not everyone can be Daryl Dixon.

    Normal people can survive, too.

    Prepping for normal people often seems out of reach, but it’s not as outrageous as it sounds.

    In fact, I really don’t believe that the majority of preppers actually are rugged survival gurus. Most of us had to make a conscious effort to learn. Most of us aren’t wilderness guides or professional hunters or military special forces operatives.  We don’t regularly pop a deer in the backyard with a homemade bow, we don’t have a bunker with 30 years of storable food and an aquifer we can access from within the safety of its walls, we don’t isolate our children from all forms of popular culture, and we don’t live in the middle of nowhere, so deep in the woods that we have to carefully climb a tree while clenching a laptop in our teeth to get an internet signal. We aren’t all off-grid homesteaders that weave our own fabric from the sheep we nurtured through a Himalayan winter.


    We are regular moms and dads. We are grandparents or teenagers. We go to the movies, grab an occasional coffee at Starbucks, and shop at Safeway. Our kids have friends whose parents would have no clue what to do in a disaster. We have Golden Retrievers, Pomeranians, parakeets, and cats.  We have jobs with officemates who have no idea we possess a year’s worth of beans. We live in downtown apartments, Victorian cottages, and raised ranch homes in the suburbs.

    There’s something that sets us apart from the normies.

    The thing that sets us apart – and sets you apart too – is the willingness to accept that life is not rainbows and lollipops. Not only do we accept it, but we do our best to take responsibility for our families should a disaster strike, whether that disaster is something on such a grand scale that it affects the entire region, or so small and personal that it only affects those living in your home.

    So don’t read that stuff and sigh anymore. While there are those people who truly have been born to the lifestyle, most of us aren’t that way.

    And that means we all started somewhere.

    Maybe it was the realization that it was better to buy more of the sale stuff so we’d have it on hand for lean weeks. Maybe a week-long power outage occurred and we didn’t want to be caught with our drawers down again. A storm, a job loss, a devastating illness – whatever the reason we started, chances are we didn’t start out by moving to a yurt in the wilderness and living off the land.

    Anyone can do this.  Anyone.

    All it takes is the willingness to learn and the enthusiasm to practice.  Preparedness is an evolution, one that we all begin at a different place.

    Here’s an example.

    I grew up a pampered city girl. My family was reasonably well-to-do, and when we went on vacation, we usually stayed at resorts or nice hotels. We didn’t ever go rough it in the woods, and the one time we “camped” (when I was about 6 years old) it was in a luxury trailer with a bedroom and a functioning bathroom. Needless to say, very few wilderness survival skills were learned. In fact, my mom didn’t even want me to walk out into the woods because she was worried I’d be bitten by a snake.

    Fast forward to adulthood, when I was a single mom with two girls. I had been prepping for years, building stockpiles, learning to can, and doing all of the stuff city preppers do. I decided to up the ante, and when my oldest went off to college, my youngest and I moved out to the boondocks of Ontario, Canada. It was then that I realized I had no freakin’ idea what I was doing. None. I couldn’t even build a fire in the woodstove that would stay lit, and the woodstove was the only heat in the cabin. I thought, “What the heck have I done?” I wanted to bail, but I didn’t have enough money to scurry back to civilization.

    So I learned.

    I learned to build a fire, stack wood, deal with 5 feet – yes, 5 feet – of snow, avoid attracting bears to our cabin, paddle a canoe (once I finally learned to get in the canoe without flipping over), cook on  a woodstove during a blizzard power outage, live with intermittent running water and electricity – all sorts of stuff.

    And I didn’t do ANY of it right the very first time I did it.

    I broke things, froze wood to the wall of my cabin, shivered when the fire went out, freaked out when there was a bear on my porch, climbed out a window and dug my shovel out of the snow with cooking pots because I had left it outside and snow had blown against my door, burying the shovel and trapping us inside. Seriously, no one ever would have made a cool show about us living in the woods, not unless it was a comedy.

    But I learned.

    Anybody can learn, even a city girl like me.

    I am MUCH better prepared after the year we spent doing that stuff. Now, that stuff is easy for me and I could flawlessly demonstrate many skills while people looked on, impressed. But it didn’t start out that way. I often meet people who are far more skilled than I am and I welcome the chance to learn from them.

    I’m not writing this so you think, “Wow, why would I take any advice from her, ever? She didn’t even know how to build a fire a few years ago.”

    I’m writing this so that you don’t become discouraged. So that you remember that preparedness is an evolution. It’s a journey that starts when you do.

    Wherever you are right now is a great place to start. The best! If you are willing to research, learn, and practice, in 6 months you’ll be amazed at how much your skills have improved. If you start building your supplies now, no matter how slowly, in 6 months, your stores will have increased.

    Learn some skills.

    So get a few good books, find some good websites, and tackle some skill-building.

    There are some awesome epic wilderness survival gurus and some off-grid families that truly want to help and teach. I know some of them. And there are some arrogant jerks who think that their way is the only way, and that anyone who is unlike them doesn’t stand a chance.  I know some of them, too. If a so-called teacher makes you feel like you don’t stand a chance because of your current point in the journey, get as far away from that person as possible. Whatever they have to teach you will be drowned out by the noise of their derogatory and discouraging attitudes.

    There are many positive places to learn, like this website. Places where you can feel free to ask questions without feeling embarrassed.  There are warm and inviting places on the internet where people aren’t judgemental and where they gladly share their knowledge with newcomers.

    You don’t have to start out as an epic survival guru.

    No matter who you are.

    No matter where you are.

    All it takes to improve your chances of survival is the willingness to learn and the courage to try.

    Check out these warm and welcoming preparedness websites:

    Just start learning.

    Most of us didn’t spring from the womb with a fire-starting flint and a #10 can. Most of us started exactly where you are now.

    The Pantry Primer

    Please feel free to share any information from this article in part or in full, giving credit to the author and including a link to The Organic Prepper and the following bio.

    Daisy is a coffee-swigging, gun-toting, homeschooling blogger who writes about current events, preparedness, frugality, and the pursuit of liberty on her websites, The Organic Prepper and She is the author of 4 books and the co-founder of Preppers University, where she teaches intensive preparedness courses in a live online classroom setting. You can follow her on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter,.


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      1. Ms Luther i just like to add a wise age old truth to the way to survive ,taught to me and has never failed God takes care of those who Pray .God may not give you want you want but he will give you want you need .All things are possible with God . With out God you will just Survive with God you will thrive. A Bible is truly the first tool for a Survivalist .Your list of sites are one of the best info areas i have seen on the web .fear is a great motivator but fear can only truly get you so far before it just kills you . There is a better motivator a better way many kinds of ways to get thru a SHTF scenario but why not find the tool to Thrive when SHTF first is a GOOD BOOK and everything else will happen .

        • Amen, brother, amen!

          • I’ll Testify to that AMEN!!!

          • The Lord helps those who help themselves. God provides the inspiration, we provide the work.

        • MD and S W
          I’ll testify to that. AMEN

        • MD, SW, and SD, I’ll testify to that also. AMEN! God Bless.

        • Add me to the list of those claiming Amen.

          • Me, too! Daisy, this is a GREAT post! Guess we’ve all acquired some of our skills the hard way…

        • Thank you for reminding us that we should seek God first then all things happen for our good…

        • Mt 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

          “…all these things…” are 6:25-34

          Amen to Michael Day says

      2. Start small and build tall.

        • And don’t buy wise foods or similar products.

          • Wise foods,, I tried a bucket of that slop with like 300% the daily recommended salt intake. Friggin heart attack slop aka bucket food.

            But hey Donny and Marie Osmond endorsed this Wise product. Friggin Mormans scammers. bwhahahahahahaha

      3. Another method of fire starting is one that is easy and that is using a tonteldoos which were first used by the English in South Africa to light their home fires. Tonteldoos means: ‘Tinderbox’ and is the Towns name that came up with the method. I’ve made several of these for my fire kits and they are great. If you want to see how they’re made just google up the name and click on the Survival Sherpa’s site and his vid will show you how they are made and how they work.

      4. Daisy
        Good job. I just wish more people would read it. Unfortunately you are preaching to the Chior here. Any way darn good article.

      5. Hi Mac.
        Hi Daisy.
        Sup y’all.

        Best to you and yours.

        I am not survivalist material.

        I am still stacking, packing, and caching.

        I live Plan A.
        I pray Plan B never has to happen.
        If it ever comes to Plan C, it is best to be with me than agin’ me.

        Be safe…….Rock Steady…….BA.

      6. A 1989 prophetic recording (time traveller / mystic?) stated that there will be a pre-arranged cyber war that will collapse the economies in 2020. Russia will be blamed and all borders will be closed (how the heck did he know about the Russia hysteria of today and the new border controls in the US and Europe back in 1989?).

        Apparently, following the collapse, all ‘Preppers’ will firstly be classed as ‘Selfish Hoarders’ and told to share thier supplies and food with the neady community. The socialised people will be rewarded for ‘telling’ the authorities about ‘hoarders’ aka Preppers.

        Those ‘Preppers’ with weapons will be classed as Domestic Terrorists and either imprisoned or given over to summary execution by PMC’s working with militarised Police.

        Well worth listening to the recording on Youtube. Title is something like ‘Time Traveller in 1989 predicts economic collapse in 2020’. No link sorry.

          • Hoax alert…

            The terminology used right from the jump is 21st century. Don’t remember people using those terms 30 years ago…MSM, Luciferian, etc…


        • You forgot the part before you were called a selfish hoarder and domestic terrorist. Some liberal socialist town official will call a meeting and explain that everyone will bring their food and supplies to the next meeting to be redistributed to the community. Those who don’t will be labeled terrorists and the town socialists will get a mob together to take it by force. The few people who hold out will be made example of to discourage others from holding out. Then they will seize any produce you grow for redistribution. They will persecute you for being a Christian. I guarantee the idea of everyone bringing their food to be redistributed will be mentioned at some community gathering. its socialisms blueprint. Collective suffering. This is why opsec is your number 1 priority no matter what your planning. I don’t trust anyone. I’ve seen so much backstabbing. It will happen when people who didn’t plan remember the guy who let his guard down and his supplies were visible to a contractor just doing a job. I went to prime a customers burner one day and will never forget how much shit she had in the basement. Went there once and still remember where the house is and that was 10 years ago. A repair man won’t forget the excessive amount of 5 gal buckets in your house. I guarantee it.

        • There is no evidence at all that the tape was recorded in 1989.

          The guy uses the term “mainstream media,” which I don’t believe existed until Rush Limbaugh became popular in the early 1990s.

          There are other anachronisms in terms that are highly suspect.

          Anyone can put a video of anything on YouTube, whether truth or fantasy.

          • I agree Archivist. The number of current terms used in the 1st minute are a give away.

          • It’s hard to tell when it was made. You, being an archivist, may be able to pick up on it easier than me. But, I do know Rush was on the radio in 1988…I was a “dittohead” back then.

        • Here’s a link to the video you referenced:

          I don’t recall hearing the terms “Debit Cards” “Preppers” or “mainstream media” in the 1980’s…

        • I have some Wise food stores. I’ll share them with the losers. 🙂

      7. I too grew up as a city kid in SE Los Angeles county. My father and Uncle grew up in the city. They were graduates of Manchester High school (I think is has been closed) they were city kids.
        Despite the handicap of city life, I was skinning rabbits with a pocket knife when I was 8. Uncle and dad had friends that taught them things that they passed on to me. We hunted rabbit, dove and quail in the deserts east and south of LA.
        My dad’s Hawaiian raised boss taught us how to harvest Sea Urchin gonads and fish for “sea” bass on the rocks at the base of the Palos Verde ocean cliffs. I remember getting my ass whooped for letting the fire go out. You haven’t started and tended a fire till you have done it in an ocean cave, on a stormy day, using drift wood.
        I spend 20+ years living on the sides of mountains 32 miles east of Seattle. My main source of heat was a wood stove. I learned woodsman skills from family, friends and my own experience.
        I took up prepping at an early age from my step-grandparents example. For example I reloaded about 1000 12 ga shells yearly in preparation for Dove and Quail season, and several boxes of rifle shells for Deer season. I started at age 8 with an old fashioned Rock chucker, They trusted me to do it right. Grandma canned, and Grandpa taught us how to fish, hunt, and camp.
        The rest of my life as a kid was on a Stingray bike or 10 speed dodging traffic to get to school or the beach.
        I’m certainly not a Survivalist sort of guy, I hate not being able to clean off dried blood after cleaning game. UCK!
        But between family, friends, and books, I think I’m in a better position that the Lexus driving, Democrat city dwelling yuppie.
        Any small skill you can master is a good thing.

      8. “…grab an occasional coffee at Starbucks…”

        Never in a million years.

        I was able to start fires when I was a child. I had a plastic magnifying glass. I also had a few other prepper items as a child playing in the great outdoors.

      9. I for one say fu, to any web sight that tries to jam a cookie , we know your agenda, and pay backs a bitch.

      10. Is this about ,they won’t keep their flasks full types? Good ridence?

      11. And how it happens that we need to prep as described by Paul Harvey:

        ht tps://

      12. A great item to have is a magnesium fire starter. Its about the size of a zippo lighter and costs less than three dollars. It can used hundreds of times and last for years. Keep it stored in a little airtight bag or container with a moisture adsorbent so the flint doesn’t go bad.

        • Get yourself some FatLighter wood. If you can’t find any check out some of your hardware stores for it. Of all places I found the fat wood, aka ‘lighter’, ‘lighter wood.’ was at Giant’s grocery store up in town. Lighter has the resin in it and makes good feather sticks to start your fire, or take the spline of your knife and scrape the wood into a tin to have to start your next fire. Another good fire starter in punk wood. Find yourself an old stump and check the wood on it. If the wood is spongy its perfect for charring. Put it in an altoid tin and take a nail and tap a hole in top of the lid. Place Some of the chunks or crumbled pieces in the tin. Use a charcoal grill to get a fire going and place the tin in the fire. Shortly you’ll see smoke escaping the hole in the lid. When the smoke stops from the hole its done. Strike some sparks on a couple of pieces and they should glow. I use an old tire rim to make my fire in for char punkwood and char cloth(must be 100pct cotton material (old towels, washcloths, etc.). Another fire starter is pine resin. While walking about through the woods I find pine trees that get injured by other trees falling against them. Anytime that happens the resin (sap) comes to the surface to ward off insects that might cause it more harm. This resin can cling to the trunk in blobs and harden. This is very flammable and is excellent for fire starting and can also be made into pitch sticks with fire ash for repairing canvas and closing wounds.

      13. Great article from Daisy. As a woman prepper whose husband was not the driver in the stages to getting prepped, I had to take firearm classes by myself, purchase a weapon, buy (first) short term, then long term food stores and design a house with safe features which we built a few years ago out of an urban metroplex. I always approach life from this perspective asking the question: How do you eat an elephant? The answer is- one bite at a time. Most people can prep and they should. Just how intense those preps get is a matter of personal conviction- but just having a month’s worth of food puts you ahead of 90% of the population. I agree that during a crisis, there will be a call to surrender food stores and weapons- (which is inherently wrong; why should those who prepare be penalized for the stupidity of others?) but the smart prepper will always have something to surrender to pretend to comply. Never surrender any #10 cans as “they” will reason that you have more of the same hidden. Give ’em expired Spam and tuna fish. They will be glad to have it and assume that’s all you have. Cannot emphasize enough to keep your preps to yourself, especially if you have guns and precious metals. Big mouths are going to be the downfall of many people.

        • I was so excited when my small town newspaper advertised a meeting of preparedness-minded residents, with the opportunity to buy bulk beans, and use a nitrogen pump to preserve dry goods, teaching canning, gardening, etc. It sounded good until they mentioned requirements to get on a town list of prepared people and their addresses, “So we can help the whole town make it through disasters.” Alarm bells! I never made it to the meeting or indicated interest. OpSec. This was well before 9/11 or the Patriot Act.

      14. Thanks…but a magnesium fire stick doesn’t have a “flint” to go bad.
        Having some cotton balls & a bit of 0000 steel wool with the fire stick in a waterproof plastic box is just the ticket.

      15. For the doubters get very basic like 6 bic lighters cus they last forever, 6 months can goods meat vegetables soup ect. And 6months drygoods like corn muffin mix just add water and pancake mix, flour oatmeal sugar basic garden tools to put in a garden and seeds

        • I use different methods to start camp fires. The Bic lighter is great but can have a short life span according to use and possible loss. I would only use one to start a fire if I was very cold and wet as it can be the fastest way to get a fire going. I do keep several of them in each of the family members packs. You can check your fluid level in a Bic lighter by taking a flashlight and shining it under the bottom of the lighter. The only exception is the black colored ones.

      16. A welders striker makes a good striker?

      17. I don’t know why people just don’t stock up on stick matches!

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