5 Steps for Turning a Greenhorn Prepper into a Rugged Survivalist


While I might come across as an authority on the site here, the reality is I wasn’t anything more than a greenhorn prepper a short time ago.

In fact the only reason I’m as far along as I am now is because I was willing to admit that.

Though I grew up fishing, hunting and camping I knew I had a lot of weaknesses I needed to address before I would truly be able to survive in an emergency situation.

This is where the internet becomes such a tremendous resource. By getting in touch with a number of experts, and devouring the countless articles and information available on all of their sites, you can grow a lot in a short period of time.

In order to reflect on my own experience, and help others along the journey I’ve decided to create a series called “The Beginner’s Guide to Survival” where I provide how-to articles on essential skills every beginner should know.

With that out of the way let’s get to the first article in the series!

5 Steps for Turning a Greenhorn Prepper into a Rugged Survivalist

For my first article in the Beginner’s Guide to Survival Series I wanted to outline the 5 basic steps every beginner should take in order to become better prepared in the case of a survival scenario. So without wasting any more time, let’s get started!

1. Begin Prepping

Wow Jake that’s rocket science! You’re telling me that in order to begin prepping I should – wait for it – begin prepping???


As dumb as that might sound the absolute BEST thing that anyone thinking about prepping can do is to start.

So where’s the best place to start?

I would recommend with your food. You see one of the easiest changes you can make is to begin to work prepper buying behaviours into your weekly grocery shopping trips. I’m talking about buying more than you usually would of a few items that store for years and have a wide variety of uses.

One of my favourite sites Off-Grid Survival, and it’s author Rob (featured in my expert’s post here) put together an awesome article titled “Survival Food – 56 Long-Term Survival Foods and Supplies at the Grocery Store” which does a tremendous job of outlining the items everyone should be stocking up on.

The list includes items like salt, sugar, beans, barley, flour, coconut oil and more that everyone should have handy in case they need to survive for long periods of time without access to groceries. Simply add a couple more of these to your grocery list and voila – you’re on your way to creating your own food stores!

2. Plan

Arguably even more important than step 1 is the planning process. However, because I think taking action is the best thing anyone can do to become prepared I’ve ranked planning #2.

Despite its secondary ranking, the planning process is incredibly important and often dictates the next 3 steps.

There are a thousand different things you can begin planning for, but I recommend sticking to the basics. Gather your family, friends or whoever plans to be in on the prepping scheme and start working out the most likely scenarios.

These scenarios can range from chemical leaks, to economic collapse, to natural disasters but the goal of the planning process is to figure out what is the most likely scenario – and what is the best way to deal with it.

An important point that I had recommended to me was to create your plans in phases. For example, Phase #1 might be simply to create a plan for a simple 3 day power outage, whereas Phase #4 might be something closer to complete economic collapse.

Whatever your plans be sure to include what you need to bring, who you need to meet and where, and what the plan is in case someone gets misplaced. In addition it’s not just good enough to plan this out – be sure to practice it a few times so that the procedure becomes second nature.

3. Learn the basics

Next up on our survival to-do list is to begin to understand the basics of survival. If you’re ever caught out in the wilderness you need to look after three basic things – food, water and shelter.


The best and easiest advice I can give you is to follow what I said above. Begin to stockpile food and it’ll be a lot easier to survive than having to find or make your own.

That being said, the next best thing you can do is begin to learn how to become self-sufficient. This might involve something as simple as growing your own vegetables or as complex as raising livestock if you decide to homestead.

On the other hand if you’re planning on bugging out and need to rely on catching your own food I’d suggest learning how to clean a fish, set a snare and gut a deer. Learning just these basic skills will put you ahead of 99% of society and will start you well on your way to becoming a seasoned survivalist.


Easily the most essential item to survival, your entire world is going to be based around finding clean water to clean with, cook with and drink.

For this reason take some time to become familiar with the skills necessary for locating, gathering and purifying water. In addition to gathering and purifying you’re also going to need to need to work out methods for transporting and storing it.


After ensuring that food and water are taken care of, we can finally move on to shelter.

Now this can mean a lot of different things to people depending on their plans, but the idea is you’re going to need to become knowledgeable in the skills necessary to upkeep whatever you plan on calling your home.

To those planning on staying put this might mean figuring out ways to protect your house. To those planning on bugging out it might mean figuring out ways to erect shelter in the bush.

Whatever your plans make sure that you have the knowledge and skills necessary to keep protected and dry.

4. Assemble a Bug Out Bag

The fourth step to changing yourself from a prepper newbie into an experienced survivalist is to assemble a bug out bag. These are also known as go-bags, BOB’s, 72 hour kits, or get home bags.

By whatever name, the purpose of the bug out bag is always the same. Have sufficient enough tools and supplies to get you to your bug out location.

Again this will vary depending on your disaster plans. If you’re looking to homestead you might just need a bag that gets you from work to home. If you’re plan is to bug out on the other hand, you might need something capable of sustaining you for months on end in the wild.

Whatever you decide I’ve put together a couple of resources for your bug out bag building journey.

The first is my 4000 word article available on the home page covering all of the items possible to include in your bug out bag.

If you’re looking for a simple printable/downloadable checklist I’ve also created a free pdf.

And finally, if you’re on a budget I created the $200 bug out challenge where I assembled a complete bug out bag for $200 and some household items.

5. Read and Learn

My last step is simply to continue to read and to learn. Accept that there are plenty of people out there smarter than you who have been doing this much longer.

To this day I still continue to love reading articles from some of my favourite sites and blogs. So I encourage you to devour everything you come across, not only here but on other sites as well.

To help you get started here are some of my favourite blogs:

I hope that was a useful introduction for those just starting out in their survival journeys. So without further ado, get off the computer and get prepping!