When you're just getting started, the journey to being a survivalist looks a little daunting - and rightly so. There's people out there who have been preparing for years, and they've got supplies and systems in place you have yet to even dream about. But the good news is that it doesn't take much to get started, and we're here to help. Today, the team of APE survival experts sat down and listed out their favorite items even a beginner could purchase to help their immediate situation should the SHTF. The following list is the culmination of their years of experience, and having these on hand if a disaster strikes will ensure you're not one of the statistics - you'll have a much better chance to survive.
Our motto in APE Survival is that "two is one, and one is none," and this rationale certainly applies when it comes to your drinking water. Get your hands on (at least) two different methods that make water safe to drink. A LifeStraw is a great addition to keep in your bug out bag, along with a pack of water purification tablets.
For an all purpose rifle the .22 will serve you well, it"s great for hunting small game and the cheap ammunition it uses helps keep your costs down. This means you can get more practice without spending all your money on bullets, training that will help you to be confident using your firearm should you need to hunt game or defend yourself. One of the guys also mentioned a handgun is great if you need to protect yourself while maintaining operational security (OPSEC), and if you buy the same .22 caliber pistol you'll never run out of ammunition for either gun.
Food in Bulk
Third on the list is food, ensure your pantry is stocked with bulk foods that enjoy a long shelf life. Brown rice, beans and wheat will last for decades in the right conditions, and help supplement any of the game, produce or canned items you will be eating. You don't need to buy a year's worth of food today, just begin to start stocking your pantry as you can afford it.
Source of Power
This could be a generator you keep in your garage (with a few month's supply of fuel of course), or something as simple as the portable power boxes which supply normal AC/DC power in an emergency. Having power can help you stay connected when the lights go out, and most of the portable power box systems also include a radio and enough power to jump start your car.
Fire Starting Kit
It doesn't matter if it's cold or you want to feel a little cozy, being able to start a fire after SHTF is critical, as it gives you both a source of heat as well as a means to cook and prepare any of the food you had stashed away. Have at least two different methods for starting a fire, such as a flint and fire-starting kit, and a heavy duty lighter with a refillable gas canister.
Knife and a Multi-Tool
Buy a high quality Swiss Army Knife and a Multi Tool. These two items will serve you far better than lugging around an entire toolkit, just remember never skimp on the quality for either of these. You're going to want to be able to rely on these two tools in any situation, and a few extra dollars now could make a real difference after the SHTF.
Bug Out Gear
Packing a bug out bag goes without saying, and if you haven't organized yours yet now is a great time to start. Ensure you've also got the basic camping gear you'll need for shelter and survival should you need to spend a few days in the wilderness, getting it ready now can make a big difference should a disaster strike. Again, practice makes perfect, and there is no better time than now to hone your bug out skills by actually going camping, giving you real-world experience lighting a fire, setting up your tent in the right location, and cooking on an open flame.
Flashlight and Batteries
Personally I prefer the headlamp as it allows me to keep my hands free, making it more comfortable to actually see what I'm eating in the night, or should I ever need both hands to defend myself. Others in our team prefer flashlights with a little heft, like what the larger Mag lights offer. Pick your preference. You really just need to find a flashlight that's bright enough for you to use, and have a supply of spare batteries handy.
This last one is a little nasty, but in a disaster what would you do if you could no longer use the bathroom in your home? Think about it. In a flood, it's very common that the rising water table puts all toilets out of commission. Even if it's just a solid bucket with a toilet seat lid and a massive supply of heavy-duty garbage bags, planning for this now will serve you well should you ever need it. Just because you're new to survival and only a few steps along the path to preparedness, it doesn't mean you have to start from scratch. Use this list along with the other great resources our team of APE survival experts provide, and you'll never have to worry about your family during a disaster, because you know you've got the gear on hand to help see you through.