Methods to the madness

Is Preparedness Category based, Linear or All Over The Place?
Such is the question asked by Ryan over at his blog. Succinctly, it is this:

Of the three approaches to establishing a level of preparedness – category based, linear based, or scattershot – which seems to be the way to go?

For me, it’s a balanced approach. My thinking has always been to imagine that I’m dropped naked, in the middle of a winter night, into an empty field. What do I need? And then I work it out from there. I’d want, immediately, a small amount of everything….rather than a huge amount of one thing and no supply of anything else.

Lots of people ‘go long’ in some way…they drop a couple grand on guns and get the sexy part of survivalism out of the way and then go to the mundane things like toilet paper and socks. There is some merit to that, but you leave yourself open to being caught short if you’re still working on that gun/ammo thing when some big event happens and you still haven’t gotten around to buying that water purifier.

Some folks go with a more ‘balanced’ approach and buy everything they need for, say, three days. Then they simply repeat this process over and over until they have their year (or whatever timeframe) supply. I rather like this approach.

And some just keep their eyes open an when they come across something that could be useful, they snag it. In the long run that might work, but it’s a great way to wind up sitting on a pallet of 500 MagLites and absolutely no batteries.

I’ve been doing some form of preparedness (or survivalism) for over 25 years. My experience has been that the most sensible way to do things is to get everything you need for ‘x’ amount of time, and then when you have that do it again…and again…and again. Once you’ve put your ‘weeks supply’ together, do it three more times…and now its a months supply. Do that twelve more times and it’s a years supply. That sort of thing. The alternative is that you shoot your wad and buy a years supply of food up front and get caught with only two weeks worth of toilet paper or gasoline.

The one argument I’ve come across for going ‘all in’ and buying as much of one thing as possible to the exclusion of other things you need (other than a spectacular sale) is when the thing you want may not be available in normal channels later. No one is trying to ban Ivory soap….but it’s entirely possible that in three weeks we’ll never have another ‘high capacity’ magazine available to us. And while gun stuff is the easy answer to ‘what might those soon-to-be-unavailable items be’, there’s other things too. Burner phones, cryptography software, electronic devices without ‘for your safety’ GPS tracking, etc, etc….all things you can have now but very possibly might be on the verboten list next year. If something you feel you need is possibly going to be unavailable later, then it makes sense to get it, in the quantity you want, while you can.

If you haven’t already got your supplies and gear socked away, and are still in the stages of acquisition, the best method…in my humble opinion….is the balanced approach. An increase across the board, on a regular basis, with occasional ‘spurts’ of increase in some categories as finances allow. I’d rather have six months of  food, fuel, power, clothes, medicines, and the like, rather than three years of food and one month of everything else. .

What you do, is of course, is your prerogative. For me, I try to raise the level of preparedness evenly across all categories if I can.

3 thoughts on “Methods to the madness

  1. yeah, timeline approach. started with a day, a weekend, a week, two, a month,. .i’m hitting 3 years mark on most things now. at this point i’m filling in nice-to-haves like gravies and desserts or the occasional weapon accessory like optics. good gps is next, and a better ar optic. if the ar values go up i’ll sell and buy a thermal scope.

  2. Hobby-based approach can work well if you have enough of the right hobbies, not just one. Bugging in is a lot like camping in your house. Bugging out is a lot like camping away from your house. You get to practice and find the holes in what you have and what you know how to do, then stock up on the things like food that you go through quickly. I doubt anyone is a purist at these approaches, though. Biggest problem is not really having any plan at all and reacting to the latest fear.

  3. Balanced and opportunistic. My baseline is one year of supplies with no need to resupply and then look at the long game. Shelter, security, water and food. I hit every thrift store I come across and buy what fits my needs when I find it. After decades of this strategy, I feel good about where we are at. I would love more night vision and armor. There is a method to my madness, it might not be yours.

    P.S. Clothing, easier to buy than replicate. Building up your tribe is good too, maybe the toughest thing to do.

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