I was out for a bike ride today and pondering a good way to get across how to prioritize while prepping. Personally I see nothing wrong with excel spreadsheets sorted and filtered for results, but those are just boring. How could I come up with a simple graphic which quickly gives the reader a snapshot of the point I’m trying to make? Then it hit me, the food pyramid! Everyone remembers that while growing up, the poster your parents referred to when making their point that you should eat shredded wheat cereal instead of fruity pebbles. All I had to do was model my pyramid after that framework and I would be good to go.
When I got home from my ride I typed the words “prepper pyramid” into google and of course, someone had already made one. I guess I shouldn’t be all that surprised. It seems like there really is no new information out there, it’s all about how to package and deliver it. I was slightly discouraged but the good news was that the other pyramid did not reflect what I had in mind to create, which is what you see below.
As you can see there is a hierarchy, from bottom to top according to relevance. Additionally I chose to add a ring around the pyramid which reflects three tenets that really do not have a ranking because they are always important. What follows is a breakdown of the pyramid and the three 3 tenets.
The Prepper Pyramid
Shelter: Some would argue food and water should be at the bottom, or the most important. I think shelter gets the nod for the foundation because if your homestead is where you want it to be and fully functional, everything else should fall in line. Why do you think people put so much time and effort into moving tothe redoubt, places like Idaho or Wyoming. If your shelter (homestead) is good to go food and water naturally should follow. You will hopefully have a well on site (or be able to access one) and you’ll be able to grow food and raise animals. It all starts with shelter.
Food and Water: Next up the pyramid are your life support items in the form of food and water. If you are prepping you need to put special emphasis here, especially considering what is going on lately with the drought and the possibility of soaring food prices. Having a stockpile of food is essential to survival when times get tough and I doubt anyone would argue against the importance of having fresh water to drink and cook with.
Protection: Guns and ammo! Probably one of the most popular prepping topics even though it is not the most important. Remember protection isn’t always about defeating a threat with firearms, it’s also about detecting and deterring that threat. Operational Security (OPSEC) is crucial in helping you protect your loved ones. Be careful who you share information with and who you choose to trust.
Medical & Hygiene: Often overlooked in many prepper stashes are medical and hygiene supplies. An untreated infection or illness caused by poor hygiene is more likely to kill you should the SHTF versus some gun toting looter. Having lots of supplies to treat multiple types of wounds/injuries can only be seen as the smart thing to do.
Barter: If you have made progress in all of the other categories on the pyramid it might be time to start thinking about barter items. Of course you can trade anything on the list to others who might find them valuable, but your bartering stash should include a few other essentials. Alcohol would make a nice item to trade for example. Think about what people in your area might be willing to trade for and stock up on some of it.
Gold & Silver: I am not a huge fan of stockpiling precious metals but I cannot deny the popularity of it. If you choose to keep gold and silver on hand I would make it the lowest of your priorities, as indicated by its place at the top of the pyramid.
The 3 Tenets
Skills: Having all of the items listed on the prepper pyramid will only ensure that you last a bit longer than those around you should things get crazy. You truly need skills to survive. Knowing how to grow your own food, how to hunt, how to split wood, how to fix a car, stitch a wound, and the list goes on and on. The importance of having skills cannot be stressed enough.
People: In keeping with skills, people or community are always an important consideration no matter where you are in your prepper journey. I’ve said it before, you have to sleep sometime and there is no such thing as a one man army. Getting to know your neighbors and finding like minded individuals will greatly increase your chances of survival in a post SHTF scenario. More people with more skills can only be a good thing.
Health: Often overlooked, this is such an important category. Over 2/3 of the USA is considered overweight. That’s shameful at best. Being healthy is a daily task which permeates through all stages of preparedness. It’s not just about being physically strong and being able to run 5 miles, it’s also about not being dependent on medication or machines (if possible). If resources become thin once treatable illnesses or conditions might become fatal. Putting in the work to stay healthy is another responsibility of a prepper and should not be ignored.