The Fall & Winter Prepper Checklist: 9 Things To Get Your Home Prepped for Disasters

by | Sep 17, 2018 | Headline News | 33 comments

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    This article was originally published by Jeremiah Johnson at Tess Pennington’s

    Tess is the author of The Prepper’s Blueprint: How To Survive ANY Disaster

    Now that Summer is winding to a close and the kids are all getting ready to go back to school, we’re about to enter the “Post-Vacation” Zone…and get to the business at hand of readying the house for the fall and winter. Be aware that Hurricane Season is here and Fire Season has not ended. This article is a reminder of the things you need to get done and squared away before the cold weather arrives.

    9 Things To Get Your Home Prepped for Disasters In Fall and Winter

    1. Wood Supply

    Here's a way to get a lot of firewood on the cheap!
    In years past, I’ve emphasized this continually. Now is the time (if fire season precludes use of chainsaws) to cut your wood and to assure your wood supply is ready and accessible. This is both for winter and as a prep: if everything goes down the tubes tomorrow, you will find that the nice fire becomes a necessary fire to heat the home and to cook food. Make sure you have a supply that you can put the majority of the wood, and an area that is readily accessible. Make certain your wood is off of the ground and that it is protected: either under a roof (as in a woodshed) or under a tarp. Cut it all now, and do a sound estimate on your rate of consumption under adverse conditions (loss of power, or SHTF scenario). Don’t forget fire starting materials and a good supply of newspaper: since the latter contains no “news” it’s perfect for burning and can be stored in your woodshed. Ensure chainsaws, axes, splitters, and other tools are in good working order and ready to use. And don’t forget about new box of matches!

    2. Chimney, Roof, and House “Integrity”

    It's important to get your home prepped for fall and winter weather. Here's a great prepper's checklist to get those to-do's crossed off your list!
    Don’t procrastinate, and have that chimney swept out now, or do it yourself. It’s easier if you have a stovepipe rather than a chimney: then you need the appropriate-diameter brush and the detachable rods. Creosote fires can burn down the whole house. You can pick up the rods and brush at a hardware store or order them online and have them sent to you. Read more about how to properly clean your chimney here. Make sure your roof is cleared of debris and your rain gutters are cleared and in working order. House “integrity” refers to closing up any kinds of gaps, cracks, or holes in the foundation or body that leave room for heat loss and entry of cold air. This is best accomplished with spray-in foam, silicone caulk, and weatherization with heavy plastic and foam molding.

    3. “Twice on the Pipes”

    It's important to get your home prepped for fall and winter weather. Here's a great prepper's checklist to get those to-do's crossed off your list!
    [To paraphrase Tony Orlando and Dawn] check to make sure all of your pipes are well insulated, especially those exposed to the freezing temperatures. The foam-type with the slit/slotted aperture is good; make sure to close the aperture with duct tape, as the glue on the edges is usually lacking. Once again, blow-in foam in an aerosol can works really well in those tight spaces where there isn’t much room to cram in insulation. It’s only about $8 per can and goes a long way. Protect your outlets for hoses with foam outlet covers. Make sure your drain the water out of all your garden and utility hoses before the freezing weather sets in.

    4. Shift the Food Supply

     Here's a great winter prep list for the prepper!
    For your perishables, now will be a good time to fill up that freezer with frozen food, as you will soon have freezing temperatures to sustain them if you should lose power. Hunting wild game is a great way to fill the freezer with tasty protein sources. I once wrote that anything needing cooking you should do prior to freezing. Then you freeze it after it is cooked. Your item is then ready to go…just warm it up.

    5. Personal Gear and Clothing

     This checklist will help get the prepper ready for fall and winter weather.
    Get those winter clothes out of storage and ready to use. This includes changing out the light sleeping bag of the summer with the extreme cold weather bag and Gore-Tex cover. Pull that Gore-Tex “Gumby” suit out of the storage! Ensure all of your thermal underwear is serviceable and ready to go. Remember: dress in layers, and plan on dressing in layers. It is easier to “peel” off a layer if need be than remove the whole “space suit” and then be cold underneath. Boots and footgear need to be cleaned and serviceable. Almost time to switch off from summer hikers to winter boots with Thinsulate.

    6. Stored Goods and Prepper Supplies

    Ensure that all of your perishables and canned goods and supplies are protected from the cold and from alternate freezing-thawing cycles. Long ago I recommended “wide-mouth” Mason jars, as they can usually stand up to the rigors of a freeze. Ensure that medications that cannot be frozen will not be frozen. This is a good time to conduct an inventory and make sure your FIFO (First-in, First-out) lists are up to date. Also be sure that there are adequate measures to control vermin, such as rats and mice that will enter the house as the temperatures drop. The cat (as you know) is my preferred measure of choice, but if you do not have one, you’ll have to plan accordingly with traps and other deterrents. Regularly checking your supplies (yes, even once every day!) will help in this department. Also, if you have a cat? Make sure he can go in where the supplies are kept.

    7. Emergency Equipment

    Fall and winter checklist for preppers
    This means all of your alarms, night vision devices, family communication devices (such as CBs and Motorolas), scanners, radios, emergency signaling devices, and first aid gear are accounted for and in working order. Some time back I wrote a piece on the importance of taking an inventory for accountability and serviceability on your equipment. This piece needs to be applied here. Check all of your battery compartments for any signs of rust or leakage, and actually test the device. A thermal sight does no good if the batteries are either dead or leaking into the chamber. Ensure all of your family members know where this equipment is and how to use it.

    8. Snow Removal

    Fall and winter checklist for preppers
    This may seem minor until you’re in a snowstorm and have to get out of the house because of some emergency. Have the high-tech (the snow blower) as well as the low-tech (the shovel) ready and in good working order. Have plenty of ice melt, salt, and sand prior to an Arctic Ragnarok moving into your neighborhood. On a side note, if you have an ample supply of snow, you can harvest the clean snow for an emergency water supply.

    9. “I’m your vehicle, Ba-by!”

    This checklist will help the prepper get ready for fall and winter.
    As Tom Jones once crooned, only the reverse is true here. It won’t take you anywhere you want to go…unless it is serviced and in good mechanical working order. Load up the trunk or back bed with supplies for emergencies, such as food, blankets, emergency gear, and what is needed. Don’t let yourself down by allowing your vehicles to be in disrepair. Take care of this stuff now, before the winter sets in.

    These are the basics to get the “creative juices” flowing in your mind. Of course there are many more items that could be listed; however, these are basics and not intended to be comprehensive. The best time to start on them is now. Don’t put off doing these tasks, as they are important to accomplish before the cold, wet weather sets in. An ounce of prevention over a pound of cure any day.  JJ out!


    About the Author

    Jeremiah Johnson is the Nom de plume of a retired Green Beret of the United States Army Special Forces (Airborne). Mr. Johnson was a Special Forces Medic, EMT and ACLS-certified, with comprehensive training in wilderness survival, rescue, and patient-extraction. He is a Certified Master Herbalist and a graduate of the Global College of Natural Medicine of Santa Ana, CA. A graduate of the U.S. Army’s survival course of SERE school (Survival Evasion Resistance Escape), Mr. Johnson also successfully completed the Montana Master Food Preserver Course for home-canning, smoking, and dehydrating foods.

    Mr. Johnson dries and tinctures a wide variety of medicinal herbs taken by wild crafting and cultivation, in addition to preserving and canning his own food. An expert in land navigation, survival, mountaineering, and parachuting as trained by the United States Army, Mr. Johnson is an ardent advocate for preparedness, self-sufficiency, and long-term disaster sustainability for families. He and his wife survived Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. Cross-trained as a Special Forces Engineer, he is an expert in supply, logistics, transport, and long-term storage of perishable materials, having incorporated many of these techniques plus some unique innovations in his own homestead.

    Mr. Johnson brings practical, tested experience firmly rooted in formal education to his writings and to our team. He and his wife live in a cabin in the mountains of Western Montana with their three cats.


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    The Prepper's Blueprint

    Tess Pennington is the author of The Prepper’s Blueprint, a comprehensive guide that uses real-life scenarios to help you prepare for any disaster. Because a crisis rarely stops with a triggering event the aftermath can spiral, having the capacity to cripple our normal ways of life. The well-rounded, multi-layered approach outlined in the Blueprint helps you make sense of a wide array of preparedness concepts through easily digestible action items and supply lists.

    Tess is also the author of the highly rated Prepper’s Cookbook, which helps you to create a plan for stocking, organizing and maintaining a proper emergency food supply and includes over 300 recipes for nutritious, delicious, life-saving meals. 

    Visit her website at for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.


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      1. A small correction- on section number 9, the song is Vehicle, by Ides of March, in 1970. Otherwise, great article! ( as soon as I saw the words, the song started playing in my head!)

      2. Picked up some more cold weather clothes over the last few weeks. Getting a new sleeping bag this week. Vehicle is in great shape. So is my mechanic. Got more ammo. Had a medical procedure done. Good results. Got new glasses. Touched base with my network. Good to go.

        • Got it all and a new Tacoma. I’m good

        • 90% of that list does not apply to Florida peppers. We have 2 balmy months of winter. Middle of Dec to middle of Feb. Avoid freezer foods as you loose power more than 3 days you lose it all. Pressure cook and Cann all your meat and stick to canned veggies. Smoke or dehydrate the rest or make beef jerky. For the rest of you northern folks. You better have multiple ways to heat your home besides electricity. The Rothchild’s Rockafeller owned PG&E Electrical Grid is fragile for a reason. Set you up to kill you. Get off the grid entirely. Go Solar and dont waste your money on needless BS preps you hastly might buy in a panic over some fear porn article. Stop fighting natures winter and move to a more mild climate in a southern state. The majority will die the first winter with the grid down. Sell it now or abandon it later come winter freezing temps.

          • Jeramia Johnson does not have solar and lives on the grid electricity and his water well has a meter cause he got caught stealing the Indian’s water rights and tried to call it Agenda 21 and lost his case. Check the archives on that blunder. He should have done his due diligence underatanding the water rights before he bought his cabin up in the northern climate. He supported Nato and fought for Exxon fascist extortionists as a pretend medic band aid applier, nation destroying and now uses a fake name trying to be a wanna be prepper like us real patriots fighting fascism not supporting it. Just some factual tidbits from those trying to be expert on giving us real preppers advice. Just saying. Fake name, fake credentials, fake war monger propaganda to create more war and instability in the world.

          • I moved to FL 20 years ago from the Peoples Republic of Kalifornication. As much as I like the idea of the outback like Idaho I will never go north of Daytona. Even though FL is listed as the 3rd worst place to be in a SHTF event, behind Alaska and HA it has the most to offer. Plenty of water, year round growing, fish up the wazoo etc. The mass dying will occur in the high population areas. Travel out of them will be impossible, plugged roads, no fuel. Yeah plenty of gangs but they will have to be dealt with everywhere. Nobody wants to look forward to this but in time it is inevitable. I lived up north for decades before going to CA. and have seen 50 below zero. Never again.

            • Central N FL, an hour N of Tampa and Orlando is most all woods and lakes and mostly white people, low population. 98% white in my FL County, and any darkie head up this way to loot is good as dead just for showing up. Lots of white biker gangs up here, good folks take care of business the old fashion way. The enemy just disappears.

      3. If you don’t have enough money to prep, and know very little on how to reduce your utility bill, and have nearly no skills, you still could buy a shrink film kit and cut the drafts in your house and save money as it gets colder.

        If you had nothing, you would find scrap and do this to insulate.

        And if the electricity goes out, you will be warmer. And the typical thing you do is pick the warmest room and have every sleep there,not dispursed all over the house. And that is better for security as well when the SHTF.

        Somebody is always on watch and you rotate.

        If you have imadequate clothing wear layers. Raw silk long underwear will you warm and is not expensive. Most churches who have a clothing closet will help you find better clothing and jackets. They will ask folks to donate by looking through their stuff.

        In a horrible situation, if you had to bug out in winter, then snow can be an insulator but you need an insulator and a space blanet to keep you from freezing on the cold ground. It’s dangerous as you can’t see whatever holes are in meadows and along ridge lines. Widowmakers get winter campers all the time. A tree with dead wood will freeze and the snow and especially ice will make it heavier and BREAK and hurts folks every year.

        Your water bottles will freeze.

        You sure better know how to live outside and avoid exposure. Homeless folks die in wintertime. The cold lulls them to sleep and then they freeze to death.

      4. Winter is the time to make bone broth. Bones contain very important nutrients. Add a tablespoon of vinegar to the water and boil for 24 to 48 hours. You need to keep the place warm so kill two birds with one stone. Baking bread is nice. And a big Turkey goes a long way.


        • As usual, great insight.

      5. This article seemed a bit redundant to me. I mean, aren’t these things that EVERYONE does every fall anyway, prepper or not? Okay, maybe aside from the communications gadgets, lol – but having sufficient firewood, cleaning the chimney (okay – some people slack on that – I attend at least one chimney fire per year as a volunteer firefighter) and making sure the 4×4 is in good working order with emergency supplies (chains, tow chain, tools, flashlight, mini air compressor and shovel for me) are all pretty standard around here in NS.

        • Where the heck is NS?
          You in Nova Scotia?

        • It ain’t perfect, but you can buy a chimney fire extinguisher like Chimfex. Basically the issue is burning too many conifers istead of hardwood and thus creoste.

          • How do people out west or up in Canada or Alaska not burn down there houses because most of them ONLY have spruce and pine to burn. Very few I know up north if buying wood can afford birch the only real hardwood way up there. If pine or spruce is well seasoned it will burn creosote free just like any other wood. Unseasoned wet wood either hard or softwood will create creosote. My theory is mixed piles of wood are put up at same time. Hardwood takes a long time to really season (oak can take 2 years here in Michigan). So if burning pine and spruce from same pile those hardwood pieces. Wont be dry and will start building up creosote. You set your woodburner draft to burn this unseasoned wet wood to burn hotter to burn this unseasoned wood. Now you have some nice glassy creosote built up. Then you put in some pine or spruce that has seasoned the same amount of time as the hardwood, but being pine is bone dry. You dont adjust the stove for this and overfire the stove or furnace and catch that creosote you created with the wet oak or hickory, causing a chimney fire and the perfectly fine pinewood gets blamed. If seasoned well, pine or any other soft wood will not create creosote, only wet wood does, wether pine,hickory,cherry or oak.

        • In any significant problem, for emergency snow removal I depend on July, in an emergency, who is going to clean the road?

        • Sensible people do all that. Here in Wonderland, I mean the metropolitan Washington DC area, prepping usually consists of getting extra bread and milk just as the snow begins to fly for a major storm. Then as soon as any roads are nearly navigable people are out in their SUVs because they are bored and want to shop or dine out or get to entertainment (movies, etc.). Most think I’m pretty weird because I’m happy to be at home taking care of various projects.

        • Sorry.. I don’t think a vast majority of people think to do any of this. At most, they’ll think to do it right before a possible emergency arrives.

      6. When I was a young man, eons ago, we were snowed in and I hand dug and cleared the road from my house to the top of a hill so my neighbors could get out. You would not believe how lengthy the distance was. You should be prepared to do that. Out of shape folks have heart attacks doing that.

        When I was living in the far north, I routinely shoveled an immense amount of snow and ice.

        Hey, sometime when you have free time, look up the Kochanski flip flop winch. It’s an old school way of extricating yourself when stuck and you don’t have a winch. You do need a stout rope and two long thick poles and a very strong tree. You slowly wind up the rope against the poles and versus the tree, thus your vehicle inches out of whatever it is stuck in.

        You should practice first.

      7. If you absolutely had to do winter camping due to bugging out, I hope you consider hammock camping and use a very thick insulator to sleep on. Your wind will whip around you so you need windbreaks. Your butt gets cold but not as cold as sleeping on snow even with an insulator. A hammock tent can be put up off trail just about everywhere versus a standard tent…and is quite camoflaged by comparison.

        Ideally if doing regular camping, you have two rooms. The outer room is where you take off wet gear and the inner room is where you sleep. If you fail to do that, condensation will build up and form ice and then drip in an endless cycle.

        My dad went winter camping as a very young boy scout. I wonder if they even do that anymore?

        Lots of folks make an ammo camp stove and buy tents (like a hunter’s tent or yurt) made to accommodate a stove. Whether you buy a stove or make a stove, you burn off the stove OUTSIDE a day before otherwise it chokes you out due to burning off paint and oils on the surface. Lots of people make that error.

        A tent illuminates whenever you use a lantern and so is visible miles away. Get a tarp to cover it. Look up images of tents at night.

        If you got a solar windshield reflector that is scrap, get your insert out of your boot. Trace it on the the reflector, then put both inside your boots and your toes will be warmer.

        • yes maranatha, our scouts still do winter camping in the snow, when we can find it. very important to have great insulation, and a way to keep it DRY.

          • sleeping……bag, clothes to sleep in….blankets on top and maybe underneath you…..GOT to sleep with a beanie. a bivy bag would be very beneficial. a trash bag in case it rains, so you don’t HAVE to have raincoat and pants….but those ARE preferred…..GOOD gloves that won’t get soaked. shemaugh or scarf. i will post more ideas soon, but most important is to have the sleeping covered….i ALWAYS froze when i was a young scout.. hot rocks wrapped in a sock is another idea, placed in foot of sleepin’ bag. stuff your sleeping bag with clothes if caught with a summer sleeping-bag in winter.

            • learn how to drive “off-road”. and throw in your car a couple of 4×6 or 6×8 pieces of wood about 3 feet long, they will get you across those small ditches and chuckholes.
              We always carry a Military Sleep System in our vehicles every where we go in addition to our GHBs.
              Don’t forget a small compressor and tire plugs.
              Muk Luk fleece lined boots to keep your feet warm.
              3 ways to start a fire would be a good start. Do not include a BIC lighter in that. Two tarps. A shovel. A real sleeping bag.
              paracord…and a tarp
              bag o beef jerky or pepperoni
              backpack with extra socks, knife, paracord, hatchet, handgun/ammo, first aid kit, baofeng radio with spare battery, solar/crank radio, flashlights, alco stove and 1/2 gallon fuel.
              i keep a bag full of cold weather gear like hats, scarfs, gloves, bivy bags, for ALL members of my family…it’s big, so i can leave it home, or stick it in there if i’m going out of town.
              WATERPROOF! hiking boots, LED flashlights, extra batteries, knife, prybar, phone charger, signal mirror, flare gun, map,

              • Purt near always a fella can go harvest some pine resin and use that as fire starter. That beats being near frozen and struggling toget it lit.

                I’m glad some normal prepper folks are helping boy scouts.

                • you can “cheat” with dryer lint, as it’s the absolute BEST firestarting tinder. but hemp rope, unwound and made into a lil birdnest works damn near as well. i gotta constantly remind my scouts about the best way to make that firestarter work, is to set it on a rock, or piece of wood, so it’s on solid footing…..set the end of your spark-maker onto it, pressing down firmly……then scrape those sparks onto that lint/rope directly, and it will light up damn near every time. DO NOT try to just “spray the sparks onto” the tinder from several inches away. we usually win all firemaking contests we participate in lately. one time, they made a fire within about 10 or 15 seconds, and a scout from the other troop couldn’t help but scream out “HOW DID THEY DO THAT?”. i couldn’t help MYself either, laughing out loud…..i DID make sure HE knew the “secret” before we parted ways. i bet a majority of scout leaders are preppers to some degree. thank you, maranatha, for all you contribute to shtfplan. i been coming here for many years, and there’s always SOMEONE putting out lots of great information…..lately, it’s been YOU that i notice most…..kudos to you!

                  • Thank you so much. I’m glad to share whatever my mentors taught me.

                    I’m thrilled that a prepper is teaching Boy Scouts because I’ve met the opposite kind who are nothing more than propagandists filling young people’s minds with immorality.

                    Good for you. Ancestral knowledge is lost unless people like you keep it alive and pass it along.

                    Volunteerism is way down because many people presume someone else will do it. Preppers can act as resource people even if they can’t always commit to helping frequently. That way church youth groups and scouting still has consultants in bushcraft.

      8. Hoodie, long pants, closed toe shoes. What is snow? Did have to scrape ice off the windshield once last winter with a spatula. Can’t find an ice scraper anywhere in Houston.

        • save some of those credit card offers you get in the mail. i hear they make decent ice-scrapers

      9. WTF? YOu guys are still here? Y’all had the world ending 6 years ago. What happened? S didnt HTF LIke I told you it wouldn’t?

        Bravefart is now the deplorable somethin or other? Maybe the deplorable hand job?

        Oh boy.


      10. BLOWHARDS

        • Notice how JJ with fake military credentials never talks about evasion or escape or anything medical or about canning food or herbs. He resorts to subjects outside if his claimed field of expertise? I say he is a Fraud. Stolen Valor thief. Like why use a fake name? Answer: To hide the stolen valor fraud. Lots of fakes out there. Pay attention or get robbed. Plenty of folks on here over the years notice these same observations about this JJ fake Author?

      11. JJ, I always read your articles and glean what I can. If nothing else it keeps me in the mind set. But, before you go attributing song lyrics to make a point make sure you get it right (same as famous quotes). Tom Jones may have been a crooner but he didn’t sing I’m Your “Vehicle.” That was Ides of March who sounded more like Blood, Sweat and Tears. Just saying.

      12. Nice to see some “how to” information back on the site. Seems to be less than what there used to be.

        • plenty of how to info on shtfplan…..all you got to do is read the comments section! always has been, always WILL BE!

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