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7 Things to Consider Before You Start Prepping

7 Things to Consider Before You Start Prepping

Prepping Mindset

Due to current events, more people have begun prepping than in the past. More people prepping is a welcome change and it never hurts to be prepared. There is nothing more badass than being able to adequately provide for your family in a time of need. Except maybe being prepped enough to help others in addition to providing for your family. To me, that's what a real badass looks like in contrast to the latest and greatest "tactical" turds on social media. 

The majority of the content I see these days focuses on shooting and defense. Shooting is an important skillset but, like the old Oregon Trail computer game, people tend to blow the budget on bullets and overlook vital, day to day necessities. Yes, I also spent all the money on bullets when playing that game as a kid loading up my wagon. We are grown up now though and the plan is to not die from dysentery.

You Have Died of Dysentery

In this post I outline seven things to consider before you start prepping. Hopefully this will help maximize your budget and help you better prepare. 

1. Hunker Down or Bug Out

The first thing you will need to establish before prepping is your game plan. There is one question that comes to mind: Are you going to hunker down or bug out?

Your plan will likely be dictated by your location, living situation, community and obligations.

If you are staying put, do you have the resources and capability to sustain yourself and your family?

If you are bugging out, where are you going to go? Will you have the resources and capability to sustain yourself and your family once you get to your bugout location?

This is the big first decision when prepping. Choose wisely.

2. Urban or Rural

Location. Location. Location.

Vigilance Elite Alpaca


One of the first things you should take into account before you start prepping is where you live. For example, your needs will be drastically different if you live in an apartment in Los Angeles vs a farm in Tennessee.


In a rural situation, you will likely have more natural resources but require more advanced capabilities to navigate the landscape. I would venture to say that in most cases a rural environment is going to be a better place to stay put as opposed to bugging out.

  • Are native to the rural environment?
  • Do you have the resources to stay put?
  • Do you have access to natural resources?


In an urban environment, a strong community might be your biggest advantage. In this case, fluid social skills will be a must if you are going to prep for staying in the city. Determining whether or not it is advantageous to stay put in an urban or bug out in this situation will be a key decision. If you decide to bug out, you need to know where you are going. You don't want to be expending resources on a theory if you can plan ahead.

  • Have you been there before? 
  • When was the last time you went to your bug out location? 
  • What has happened to your route historically during times of crisis?

Answering this question will help you make practical decisions on establishing a plan and identifying natural resources. It will also help you narrow down your needs once your plan is in place.

3. Rent or Own

Do you rent or own your place? 

There are pluses and minuses of both.

If you rent, your landlord sees your home as one of their assets and you may or may not be part of their plan. On the flip side, you could also be part of a close community that works together. It's all about your situation.

You can bail from your situation with less obligation and less responsibility. This can be an advantage, especially in a densely populated urban environment.

If you own the place, you obviously have more skin in the game when it comes to defending the homestead and also the responsibility of upkeep. You will also be more motivated to invest in more infrastructure based preps. Owning will likely offer you enhanced capabilities that renting does not. Yard space for a private garden for example.

4. Community

Your community is one of the greatest assets a prepper can have. Proximity to help is invaluable knowledge in times of crisis. Networking doesn't have a hard cost and being an upstanding member of your community goes a long way in the good times and the bad.

Make friends with your neighbors, try to remember names and faces. I know sometimes this isn't easy and not always possible but the effort is not wasted.

5. Know Your Dependents

Knowing your dependents will enhance your capabilities. Besides your immediate household, are you going to end up hosting for the rest of your family. Sometimes this might be thrown upon you and it is good to be ready to address that situation.

Lots of people like to sound tough but I don't think they would really turn away their in-laws or that other family member they might argue with at the holiday dinner table.

Vigilance Elite: Shawn Ryan on the farm.


Know your dependents and identify your unknowns. This will help you plan more effectively.

The mark of a truly strong man is one who can care for others. Especially when the chips are down.

6. Get In Shape

I know. I know. This one is never fun. 

But think: Am I in shape enough to move the supplies that I have prepped?

You will never regret working out and staying healthy. This will help you have the energy to push forward if you need to bug out.

Start small. Just adding light cardio to your daily routine will benefit you in the long run.

7. Eliminate Debts

Eliminating debts might not sound like the most obvious prep. Think of how you will feel not owing anything to anyone if SHTF. No one will be coming to collect from you and you will be in a better position to move forward.

That is true independence. True Freedom.

Comments on this post (26)

  • Aug 22, 2020

    Outstanding information. I’ve been prepping for about a year and the videos you post along with these bits of info have really helped my family and myself. I have a renewed outlook on life and have a renewed sense of well-being. I am looking out for my family, neighbors, and anyone who needs help. We are all in this together. Stronger as a unit. Now if I could just get them to train with me, it would be awesome. Thank you Sean!!

    — Chris

  • Aug 21, 2020

    In my ever changing, on going pursuit of wisdom, happiness, and sometimes really weird life, I’m grateful for my new found and restored faith in god, my son and daughters, their mothers, family and friends to be in my life.. battling drug addiction has finally been put to a victory lap but I’m ever (vigilant) in failing, but with all gods virtues I hold to our core values from the navy of honor, courage, and committent with strength and honor at my forefront of gods virtues. Staying prepared for anything in this seemingly failing world is easier said then done especially when dealing other major life issues worse then any of mine. Reading your 7 main things to think about when prepping put my mind into that old hindsight I used to have and I appreciate your informative knowledge on the subject. I have the utmost respect for you and i can only strive to be a fraction of the person you are with out envy, thank you too by the way for your incredible service to this great country. God bless.

    — Mario Delmoral

  • Aug 21, 2020

    Thank you!! Great advice. My husband is a disabled Veteran. He depends on me.. doing my best. We’re armed, plenty of food, along with great neighbors. 👍🙏🇺🇲

    — Kimberly

  • Aug 21, 2020

    Thank you!! Great advice. My husband is a disabled Veteran. He depends on me.. doing my best. We’re armed, plenty of food, along with great neighbors. 👍🙏🇺🇲

    — Kimberly

  • Aug 07, 2020

    If you’re planning on bugging out, make ruck marching a part of your exercise routine. Strong legs and conditioned feet are two things you will not regret if the SHTF.

    Oh, and keep a good stock of shoes. Good quality working shoes.

    — Justin H.

  • Aug 07, 2020

    My wife has teased me for years for be prepared. Now she is changing her tune. Lol keep up the great work Shawn, I’m always ready to learn.

    — Don Ritter

  • Aug 06, 2020

    Rather people realize it later, but hopefully for their sake, now, this is all good advise. Keep it coming for all that need it.

    “These things we do that others may live”

    — Kevin Taylor

  • Aug 06, 2020

    Thanks for the info. You always give sound real world advise. Also thanks for your service. Keep up the good work.

    — Larry Smith

  • Aug 06, 2020

    Great straight forward advice as always. You are a true hero and inspiration.

    — Jacob Shubin

  • Aug 06, 2020

    The last point is gold. Recently someone on another forum posed the question “if you already had everything prepped, and you had an extra $1,000, what would you buy?” A lot of people said ammo, or guns, but I said pay down my debt. I got push back from that, and people said that if SHTF, debt doesn’t matter anymore. That’s BS. Debtors always want to collect.

    — Derek Ferguson

  • Aug 05, 2020

    Excellent advice. Most people don’t concentrate on debts but it makes a total difference. Debt is a very real weight down that can harm you in a situation like that.!

    — Gamma

  • Aug 05, 2020

    I think one of of not the most important is mindset. If you are not a person who has constantly challenged himself/herself, deliberately made things hard or choose the tougher path, you dont sta d much of a chance. No amount of working out or shooting can surpass mental fortitude.

    — Christian Fenico

  • Aug 05, 2020

    Hi Shawn , thanks for that info , it’s always good to watch your videos, you speak no bullshit truth , I will now be prepping on the list that you mentioned. I have no fire arms as I live in Australia, but I do live in a rural on 12 Acres, thanks again , your wife doesn’t do things by halves does she lol , you though you were only getting 3 alpacas but you got , was it 6 , and little Griff he is a beautiful little fella, Cheers from Paul in Australia always. “ I know my Surname is different “ lol

    — Paul Girkin

  • Aug 05, 2020

    Very good advice. We need to remember that everything has trade offs and you need to do what suits your individual situation best. Thanks

    — James Gilstrap

  • Aug 05, 2020

    This is by far the best prepping advice I’ve been given. You keep the list realistic unlike a lot of these people who waste your time talking about stuff that’s unrealistic. Keep up the great work man.

    — Jaxon Brannon

  • Aug 05, 2020

    Thank you. Yeah Cardio

    — Randall

  • Aug 05, 2020
    is my favorite with #6 a close 2nd, thanks

    — Brian M.

  • Aug 05, 2020

    Good sound advice without the extra fluffy language added in. I like your way of doing things. Keep it coming.

    — Jim Freeland

  • Aug 05, 2020

    Great advice as always. Love the site….

    — jerry scott

  • Aug 05, 2020

    Sir, first Thank you for being such a badass and serving our Nation. Your counsel, 36 yd zero has me dead nuts accurate as you stated 25yds to 250. Your wisdom and experience sharing is awesome. A Combat Veteran ( not like you ) USAF, I was an Air Reserve technician, C-130 crew chief. El Salvador 1987, I was forced to defend myself and my Acft. Wish I had had your knowledge then. But I made it. Thanks for all your shared wisdom.

    — Daniel Joseph de la Vega

  • Aug 05, 2020

    Great info been thinking like this for quite some time now. It’s always good to be reminded from time to time from another source. Hey was that Smokey?

    — Robert Bowser

  • Aug 05, 2020

    Simple direct to the point. On debt I would focus on secured first. Then worry about unsecured.

    — Greg Chabot

  • Aug 05, 2020

    Some really good things to be considering at this turbulent time (and always). Great post.

    — Jesse Ward

  • Aug 05, 2020

    Excellent advice. Giving these elements some thought for our plan. Some have been considered and taken care of. Some others will need some attention & action.

    — Doug P.

  • Aug 05, 2020

    Roger that.

    — Jimmy D

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