Editor’s Note: This post is another entry in the Prepper Writing Contest from Mike Turner. OK, so you should be finished with those Turkey leftovers and the end of the year is racing toward us. It’s never too early to set goals for your prepping efforts in the coming year. Mike has written a great article with some excellent prepper challenges you can take on yourself to improve you odds at survival.
What are the challenges designed to do?
We all prep throughout the year, have our own goals, weaknesses and strengths in regards to our preps and skills. The twelve challenges below are designed to spread different aspects of prepping throughout the year and can be started at any time. They are however by no means self-contained to that month, they should be continued throughout the rest of the year. Each challenge is based on one or more of the following aspects of prepping:
- Mental Fortitude
Optimization refers to simply being efficient and organized with your preps. This is important as many preppers lose track of what they have and what they need. Preppers also become over-reliant on gear and as a result pack far too much. The optimization challenges are designed to help with this. Health, is exactly as it sounds. Conditioning your body not only for a short time but continuously throughout the year will not only get you into a good fitness routine, but help with the physical and mental stress on the body in a survival situation. Practice, like Health is just that simple. Knowing now to do something is not the same as having the experience of doing it. With practice also comes confidence and speed, these two things will in the end save you time and resources. Finally, mental fortitude. The most abstract of the four, this one refers to a wide range of mental faculties. Problem solving, motivation, control and conquering of fear, in short the physiology of survival.
New Year’s Resolution – Lose Weight (optimization)
Spend a bit of time this month looking over your EDC (everyday carry) and try to lighten the load. EDC is a vital part of every preppers plan. Without it, you are putting yourself in a bad position as soon as you leave the door. Why is the weight important? By keeping track you do not only keep your load light, but keep you gear to the real essentials and cut the fat. So this month take the time to cut out unneeded gear and reevaluate your choices. Who knows, it might make all the difference when the time comes.
Lights Out! – Isn’t the candle light romantic! (practice/mental fortitude)
Ever had to spend the night with no lights? Now is the time to give it a try. Practice in this situation will make things much easier for you of the time ever does arise that you can’t just turn on the light. This also includes the TV and any other devices that give off light. Once in the month or once a week,it is entirely up to you. These kind of drills will help you to acclimatize to the stress of the situation in which will be compounded ten fold when the genuine article arrives.
Why weight to get in shape? (health)
Start a basic exercise routine. Seven minutes a day of varied static exercise or high intensity sprints will get you on the right path to getting SHTF fit. There are many free apps or simple exercise plans already time tests and free if you are willing to take the time to look. By starting this style of exercise routine bugging out with your BOB, heavily physical work like processing wood or farming will be less physically and mentally taxing. A recommended free application is the 7 Minute Semper Fi Workout.
A bit of spring cleaning (optimization)
Now is the perfect time to start going through your preps, food stores and kit bags. Why not take the time this month re evaluating what you have stocked, what you need, don’t need, and may be light or heavy on. Many preppers develop unbalanced stores or even become too focused on certain items and forget others that can be key to survival.
Hoof It (practice/health)
Grab your Bug Out Bag and get walking. Aim for one mile a day, seven a week. The reason for this challenge is simple. Most people who prep their BOBs and set their bug out locations have never actually walked there with their kit. So, take May as a great opportunity to practice moving to your bug out location or nearest disaster center. Keep track of how you feel after each walk and the time it took you. Think you can do it? Try upping the distance to increase difficulty.
Eating straight from the bag (practice/mental fortitude)
Do you have two to three days of food in your bug out bag? Does it last? Is it easy to cook? Have you ever tried it? Many people buy great lightweight, long life survival foods for their BOB. The problem is, it that most people don’t try them. Even if they have all the calories, vitamins and minerals you will need you may well find that it doesn’t keep you going. Trying doing two/three days stints only eating the food you would have stored in your BOB. Keep note of how much you eat, how you felt each day and use this information to better evaluate your preps for the future. From experience I can say I highly recommend this challenge, especially if you do daily exercise and walk a lot.
Lets give your BOB that summer body (optimization)
Cut 1 kilo or more from your BOB. It is as simple as that. Cutting the fat will make movement easier and really make you think about what you truly need and what you don’t. Why does this take a month? Upgrading to ultralight or micro gear can take time and money, but also testing out the updated contents may require field testing and overnight camps.
Set up the tent and enjoy the summer! (practice/mental fortitude)
Just like July, it really is that simple. Keeping your basic camping, fire craft and bush craft skills sharp is vitally important in survival. This regular practice will also help not only practice but improve your skills as you find better more efficient ways to do things.
What knot to learn and what not to learn (practice)
Take the time this month to learn a new knot. Knots are incredibly useful and broadening your base knowledge will only add another arrow to your quiver of survival skills. Some useful knots are listed below:
- Alpine Butterfly
- Buntlines Hitch
- Clove Hitch
- Timber Hitch
- Double Fisherman’s Knot
- Climber’s Coil
- Reef Knot
- Prusik Knot
- Double Figure Eight
Shit just hit the fan! – What could be scarier on Halloween? (practice/mental fortitude)
Why not run a full SHTF survival drill this October. The level of difficulty can vary and also the purpose. You could bug in with your entire stockpile or bug out with just your BOB. Why not go all the way and spend a night in the woods with nothing more than the clothes on your back? This kind of practice in as realistic conditions as possible can really open your eyes to what you will be in for if SHTF. This is also a great opportunity to practice other skills such as camouflage, water procurement, hunting and trapping, scavenging and camp site discipline.
Squirrel away those food stores for winter. (practice/optimization)
This November take the time to top up your food stores and keep a food journal. Spend a week on and a week off collecting the data to find out if you your stores really would see you through the a long cold winter. Why do it? Having a good store of food is important. Having a good store of foods that don’t give you a balanced diet is not. By keeping the food journal and recording how you feel each day you will be better able to evaluate your stores and improve upon your existing preps.
Deck the halls and bar the doors! (practice)
Christmas is a great time for people to get together, exchange gifts and ideas and generally improve the lives of others. However, it is also a time when people are often burgled and have their homes invaded. Keep your December merry by taking the time to secure your home. Check your locks are in good working order, check your windows close properly and that your garage is secure. Getting into the routine of keeping an eye on these things could prove vitally important in a bad situation. Bugging in for example.