Prepping - it’s an endless activity that has few rewards, and those rewards often are not close in payout to the amount of time and effort that went into them. The interim rewards in prepping include not having to run to the store constantly to keep your food stocked. When you’re a Prepper your grocery store is in your own house, going to an actual store is akin to going to a warehouse to get resupplied. The other reward is great personal satisfaction and comfort in knowing that you are ready for anything - well, almost ready - there’s ALWAYS something else that can be done. The big payoff rarely comes for a Prepper - and that is when things get bad enough that you’re able to make it through it solely because you were prepped. This lifestyle, with it’s small rewards and rare big payoff, can be tiring - even overwhelming at times.
Random preparedness, which a lot of people I am acquainted with participate in, is a step up from non-preparedness but can be somewhat misleading, perhaps even dangerous. Wade talks about some of this in his inaugural post - you might have wheat stored, but do you know how to use it? If you have a flashlight, do you consider yourself prepped for darkness? What will you do when the batteries run out, do you have batteries stored? Do you just have one flashlight, or do you have one for each person in your family? How about two for each person in the family? Or a store of emergency candles to supplement the flashlights? Redundancy is very important! If you have candles stored to backup your flashlight, how will you light them? Do you have matches stored? What will you do if you run out of matches? Do you have flint and steel stored? This may seem like I have randomly picked flashlights, but with any item you pick it will almost always pare down to a “primitive” solution. Lighting leads down to flint and steel. Heat, both cooking and warming, leads down to flint and steel. Transportation leads down to pack animals and hand-made carts. And so on. Primitive or Pioneer skills are essential in a long term TEOTWAKI situation. This post isn’t to discuss primitive survival methods though, it’s to discuss navigating the Rabbit Hole.
The Preparedness Rabbit Hole can be a maddening thing! Once you start down it, you find there are endless branches, many of them intertwine and many of them go very deep and then head back near the surface only to empty into yet another branch. Let’s enter the Rabbit Hole through the Weapons entrance, whether for protection or for hunting. If you have no weapon preps or knowledge, your first thought will most likely be a gun, if you know nothing about guns this leads you to your first branch in the Rabbit Hole, and it’s right at the surface. You can learn about Handguns, Shotguns, Long-guns and Battle Rifles - and more if you’re inclined. In learning about these, you’ll learn about lines of defense and where each weapon is appropriate and for what, and when you need to rely on a different weapon. You’ll run back and forth between these branches for a while. Then you’ll settle on something, let’s say you settle on a Long-gun so you can hunt big game. Now you have to settle on a caliber, to keep this short, we’ll say you settle on a .30-06. Now you have to choose and purchase a weapon and learn about ammo - 180 grain bullets or 150? Ballistic Tips or Full Metal Jackets - and so on. OK, now you’ve bought your gun and a box of 50 180 grain BT cartridges.
Now the Rabbit Hole, which you thought you were near the end of, goes crazy. What will you do when you’ve shot all 50 of those cartridges you bought? Reload? You are now at the top of another tunnel, reloading - and you’re going to need a lot of supplies and some equipment. What if the only game you can find is small game - and a 30-06 would destroy it? What if you need personal protection? What if you can’t carry a rifle around because of how obvious it is? What if you’ve run out of bullets and reloading supplies? Can you make a bow and arrow out of raw materials? Can you make a sling? Do you know how to use either of them? Do you need a scope for your rifle? How strong of a scope do you need? Once you kill an animal, do you have the knives and equipment to gut and clean it? Do you know how? How will you get the animal out of the forest? Once home, how will you butcher it, both know-how and equipment? Once it’s butchered, how will you process and store it? Do you dry it? Do you freeze it, do you have a generator to keep your freezer running? Do you have gas to keep the geni running? Do you have a different alternative power source like solar or wind? The big one - do you have spare parts for the generator, freezer, rifle, reloader? Do you even know how to use spare parts (if you can get some by bartering) to fix any of those things? Do you feel the insanity of prepping beginning to slip in??? The Preppers Rabbit Hole is endless and maddening. Maybe that’s why they call us serious preppers crazy - cause in a way we can get there.
A LOT of effort has been made by a lot of people to map out the Rabbit Hole for us but unfortunately, there is no definitive map. If you’re a spiritual person and believe in personal inspiration you can turn to God for help and direction. If not, you can turn to books and more books and even more. Even if you’re the spiritual person, you still need to review books or other things so that God can direct and inspire you to what is important for you to investigate further. Many of us on this site as authors or readers have done some version of this approach and are willing and trying to share with others the maps that we have created of the Rabbit Hole. None of us have all the answers, each of us have thoughts, experiences and training of potential value to the others and together we have a lot of The Hole mapped.
Mapping the Rabbit Hole is Preparing for Preparedness. It’s studying, learning, practicing, experiencing, listening, reading, experimenting and so on. It’s good there is no complete map - in order to navigate The Hole you must “learn to fish”. By learning it for yourself you are able to make connections in the future from that experience that you wouldn’t have made otherwise. By studying prep topics you begin to see new things as common sense and gain an ability to puzzle things out for yourself. These experiences will likely be the most valuable thing to you in a TEOTWAKI situation - perhaps even more so than your preps themselves.
Prepping for Preparedness is something that becomes a lifestyle. Once you’re into it, if you stay into it, there is always a new top level Rabbit Hole to enter. This year I am peering into a few of them and considering diving in. I’m looking into Pandemic preparedness - which leads into all kinds of medical preparedness branches including knowledge, training and equipment. I’m also looking into leather work and how to make clothes from animal hides - which immediately branches into tanning hides and comes from hunting education. I’m looking to extend my growing season and trying to learn how early I can start plants indoors and the best techniques for it - which branches into different gardening equipment and requires different spaces than I’ve used. I also have plans this year to save up and buy 3 huge tents and 3 tent stoves from cylinderstoves.com.
With my intentions of getting into all these new areas and buying several new things, I have to study and communicate to learn the branches I can expect in these Rabbit Holes and start a mental map so I can navigate. I’m looking into medical suppliers, leather suppliers, gardening suppliers and reading several books, websites and manuals. I’m looking into classes I can take and other new areas where I can get experience. I plan to make several posts on these topics as I go, hopefully by the end of the year this site will be a good resource for these areas of preparedness.
What experiences have you had in the Rabbit Hole? Would you like to be a guest author and share them? Do you have some good experience in Prepping for Preparedness that you can share? Have you had experience in the areas I’m looking into that you would be willing to share, either in comments or as a guest author? Are you interested in learning these skills and maybe going through them with me? Let us know!