> TEOTWAWKI Blog: Prepping advice for young people



Prepping advice for young people

Somewhat surprisingly to me, there are apparently more than a few younger people out there who are interested in preparing for tough times. The wider popularity of prepping, via YouTube, blogs like this and others, and probably TV shows like Doomsday Preppers have certainly helped spread awareness. And I'm sure many of you older have passed on the prepping bug to your children and young relatives. That's all awesome.

Here's a snippet from an e-mail I received recently from a young fellow:

I'm a kid that likes normal things but I also like prepping. Both my twin brother and I are avid preppers and are always thinking on the subject. We are only in 6th grade and we wondered if you have any tips for kid preppers?

My big bit of advice for "kid preppers" is to focus on learning. When you're a 6th grader, learning is your job--along with chores/helping around the house and, of course, growing up! While you're limited on funds and what you can/can't do, there is a lot out there that you can learn. 

I would look to get involved in outdoor clubs - potentially Boy Scouts, 4H and so on, and soak in information. Blogs, YouTube and your local library will also be valuable sources of education. Try things out, experiment and learn--be safe and have parental supervision when needed--but have fun.

In the old days, children were given important responsibilities at a young age--they grew up fast. My grandpa grew up on a farm and ran a trap line by the time he was about 8 or 9. I think most boys would love to stomp around the woods with a hatchet, .22 single shot and set traps, but we're mostly trapped in suburbia and cooped up inside these days. Sad.

My son is 3 and a half, but here's a short list of some of the skills I'd like him to have by the time he's 12 to 14:
  • Basic gardening
  • Basic knot tying
  • Fire starting
  • Knife safety
  • Safe use of an axe
  • Firearms safety and some skill with a .22 rifle (under proper supervision)
  • Basic cooking skills
  • Basic repair skills
  • Basic clothes mending
  • Basic hunting/butchering ability 
That's a pretty good foundation to work from, and well within the grasp of a younger person.

As far as gear goes, I would work with parents to build a basic 72 hour kit, ideally for each member of the family. It doesn't have to be high dollar stuff. If we're talking birthdays or Christmas, I'd ask for one or two quality items that will last a long time, over a bunch of smaller things that will break and be lost.

That's my advice for "kid preppers," I'm sure the tribe has lots more wisdom for our younger readers. Let us know in the comments section!


  1. I think the advice about outdoor activities is most important. Being in the woods teaches a whole range of useful and important skills, including self confidence, ingenuity, and independence. It also teaches you to get by without the flatscreen, the micro, and all that other stuff we depend on on a daily basis. All these things are good to know even if nothing really bad happens in the future.

  2. A good list, but I would probably add a couple other ideas:

    Basic exercise/physical fitness - I was the stereotypical 'nerdy fat kid' and it took a while to get even marginally more fit, when older.

    More-than-'basic' cooking/nutrition knowledge. What passes for cooking instruction for young people now mostly involves things like "put your package of Twinkies in the microwave for 20 seconds" - you need to know how to safely use a skillet, a Dutch Oven, and a non-plastic cooking knife. You also need to know that a balanced diet doesn't mean a cookie in each hand. Most school lunches are just commercial fast food, or worse. You won't learn what to eat in school.

    Basic First Aid skills. So you can patch yourself up while learning to do other things safely.

    1. AnonymousMay 18, 2012

      Yeah I'm sixteen and I've been trying to shake off that stereotype for a while. Haven't lost any weight yet but I can run for 9 miles and that seems about good enough. I would agree that physical fitness is important nowadays. You can't rely on lifestyle to put muscle on your frame. I would also make some suggestions on purchases. I've been trying to prep through learning and research and while its the best and easiest way for a teenager to do so it is limited. I started about two years ago and I'm basically out of things to learn. There is plenty out there but only so much can be learned from books and computers that's why we should also advise on what someone should buy. I have spent about $200 on preps total. But the stuff that I bought will last through just about anything.
      Ka-bar Kukri Machete
      Ontario SP1 Marine Combat Knife
      .177 Air rifle (in my opinion the best caliber for and air gun)
      Alice Pack
      *and the contents of the pack*

    2. A very good basic set of prep materials. (just a note, pellets tend to deform, BB's can be re-used, get those too for very small game)

      Don't limit your online searches to the obvious. ("survival" , "survival kit", "zombie kit", "weapons", etc) - think about search terms like "primitive skills","outdoor cooking", "bushcraft", "appropriate technology", "nautical ropework", "native crafts", "aboriginal technology", etc. The day you run out of new stuff to look at and learn from is the day you should learn that your online search terms are too restrictive.

      Have fun with it. That's IMPORTANT for learning new skills. Learn to make an emergency knife with a discarded beer bottle, a stick, string and a couple rocks. Learn how to make your own cordage from tree bark when the paracord runs out. Get, and store, herbs and spices, and learn to cook. The "Burt Gummer" folks who don't know how to do more than boil water, will trade for food that isn't MRE's. Look at everything you use over a couple days and wonder :how can I make that?"

  3. AnonymousMay 18, 2012

    boy scouts is a great place to learn new skills, and get out using them. also, look into clubs or after-school activities. there are lots of books to explore.

    my sons and daughter recently got their HAM radio training and are using their new licenses regularly.

    keep exploring the world - there is alot out there of use. your best investment is in your education (at school), helping others in your community (esp. older people that your parents approve of - great stories and experiences), and strengthening your own family. Family is what gets us through life and difficulties.

  4. AnonymousMay 18, 2012

    I'm 14 and somewhat an avid prepper, in reality, you don't need much money to prep. I've gotten most of my gear from yard sales, auctions, and thrift stores. During the summer I'll usually do lawn mowing and other jobs like that to earn enough money to buy a quality item from a store.

  5. I'd add map and compass skills. Learn about different types and scales of maps. Maybe go to a couple of orienteering meets.

    Also, get a reasonably good quality bicycle and learn basic bike repair skills. Maybe check out some cyclocross races to build bike handling skills.

    With a little practice, a 4'x1" oak dowel (or similar heavy hardwood) that you can pickup from most hardware stores for $8-10 makes a pretty good self defense weapon.

  6. AnonymousJuly 03, 2012

    Im twelve and have been prepping for about a year. I find that you can still prep on a low budget. Just lookoute for yard sales surplus and thrift stores.