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How we need to prepare

Recent Comments



I don’t know about you but I like making lists. Being a planner with a bad memory I like to make sure I have a checklist that I can tick off whilst I am doing a task and I can make sure I don’t forget anything. I also list keeping lists on the contents of things plus what I need to pick up. For example my work away bag has a checklist that says No of shirts x No of nights away + 1, razor, charger, neckties, shoes, bathroom kit, etc. Just to make sure I don’t forget to take anything. In the past I’ve been 250 miles away just before an important meeting and looking for a shop that sells ties. Lists are good.

Prepping needs lists. It is the only way you know what you have in each location, what you need to purchase and what needs to be rotated out and replaced. They helps you find things and identify what needs replacement after something has been used.

The only problem is that most people don’t like lists. They have cupboards full of tins but no idea how many of each item nor when they were purchased or are due for replacement. For preppers that is unforgivable and you could end up living on beans because you bought so many and forgot the buy replacements like spaghetti and ran out. More importantly is making sure that your calories, vitamins and addatives are balanced. You don’t want to come down with rickets or something or have all your teeth fall out. If you don’t have any lists empty your cupboards and caches, put everything back checking them for damage and make a note of what you have. Check that list against your requirements and make sure you start to keep track of your stores as you buy them and use them. It is much easier. Every few months go through and ensure you use items coming to end of life and replace them. Consider throwing away some items that are end of life like medicines. Some medicine are dangerous if out of date. Check and verify. If in doubt dispose of.

Lists are good for tool kits, grab bags and first aid kits. Keep a laminated copy of what is in each one and check them after each use. No point putting them back after use with the idea to check them later. That check may never happen and the first thing you know you are bugging out with missing items. Check and replace before you put back into position. You should also regularly if they have perishables in them. If something is missing, broken or needs replacement that you can’t replace immediately then tie a highly visible red label to the bag with the missing item written on and make replacement your top priority. Don’t forget these things because you don’t go near them frequently.

Myself, when you open the cupboard I have a list of items in there. Attached to each grab bag, first aid kit or tool kit by a zip lock is a laminated sheet of its contents. Each box in storage is either already labelled or has a list of items written attached in a clear plastic folder. I have a map of my storage areas with a general list of contents, some stores are food only, others water, some tools, medicines, books and so on. So the map is a starting point to the boxes. Medicines are over there, when you get there the list on the box says it contains antiseptic and that is what I am looking for.

Much easier than doing a search through every box to find something you need quickly.

8 comments to Documentation

  • fred

    Yes but do you also have a central register so you know where each list is?

  • trailblazeruk


    I dont do lists– only because I have One rucksack in the house packed with gear I have owned and used for a long time that I know wont let me down whatever the season.. I dont do lots of gadgets either because I am heavy handed and break them usually. I own 26(Yes 26!)Outdoor Knives collected over 40 Years yet actually only use 2 of them(a nato/Wilkie Survival Knife and a frosts clipper)

    Thats not to suggest that lists are a bad thing, a friend of mine does this constantly and changes the contents of his pack or BOB all the time and updates lists accordingly and loves it (And why not- he lives alone and TV is boring) but for me, I would sooner spend my time on prectical tasks that are more likley to save me and my family– like fire lighting in poo conditions or stabilising that broken bone or finding water and making it fit for consumption.

    I still have a store of food and supplies but not much at the House and my supplies are mostly bulk staples (25 kilo white Rice, pasta, wheat with a grinder and lots of sugar and honey cos we like it)with best by dates written with big marker pen on the side. When nearing use by dates they get replaced and the older food fed to the many animals that we keep.

    It is easy to spend a great deal of time thinking about researching and listing things we may need–and thats fine as it is very entertaining/thought provoking and it is clear that survivalists and preppers do it a lot simply by the lists of kit and contents of bug out bags that you can find on the internet- we like lists!

    I read once a quote in a Ray Mears book from some bigwig explorer dude ” We learned few items are essential- and how essential those few items are.

    Please take care


    My obvious point is

  • Kenneth Eames

    I keep lists and I record the use by date on the top. I then use a marker pen to mark the date on the top of the can and its content. Should the can become wet and the label fall off I know what the tin contains. I keep a copy in the box and a copy at home. I have a record of what I possess and all of the boxes are numbered. When I get decent weather I will be cacheing some boxes in the wild. I will cover all cans in soft white paraffin to prevent rust. Books will be well protected and Wooden boxes lined with old tins, to prevent rodent attack. Kenneth Eames.

  • Skvez

    While lists are good and in some cases necessary; they are also a potential security risk in that they show at a moments glance just how much stuff you have stockpiled and where it all is. It’s harder to tell your nosy friend who wandered into your spare room after a trip to the bathroom that you just have a pile of camping gear and a few tins of food for a camping trip if the first thing they see (and pick up) is your clipboard detailing exactly how much stuff you have.

    It also a problem when it comes to caching gear.
    There is little point burying a cache in the back garden if there is an easily found list headed “cache buried in back garden” somewhere in the house.

  • bigpaul

    good point Skvez, its the security angle that worries me about lists. OH has a list of whats in the freezer just so she dosent have to go diving in the bottom to see whats there, but our tins are not listed or marked, they are just put on the shelves and rotated-last in first out.

  • Lightspeed

    An american business friend of mine travels extensively and his system is different. He used to be rather snail-like, leaving a trail of his posessions all over the planet. His good wife took charge after he lost yet another expensive electric razor or some such. She purchased him a new travel bagand within it numerous zip shut nylon boxes that when loaded exactly fit the space inside the bag. Theset contain all of his essential stuff. eac box is labelled. socks, wash kit, ties etc etc. Before checking out he just ensures taht each box is as full as it should be. and thatthere are no spaces in his travel bag. He has not lost a thing for many years now.

    So maybe we can learn from this by having set sized containers for “Baked Beans”, ” Spaghetti” etc etc. Stock replenishment would simply be replacing missing contents to bring the storage container back to fully loaded state.

    This seems a god idea, but I’m not sure how well it would work in practice?????

  • Skvez

    That idea would only work if you had acquired all the gear and food preps you ever intneded to and were just maintaining that value as things got used/rotated.
    In reality most of us are trying to add to our preps (however slowly) so I don’t see it working.

  • Skean Dhude


    Just a central list of the stores. So I know what I have and what I am short of.


    I keep the each list with the goods so if they are looking at the list they are looking at the goods already. I don’t have any list that says cache buried in the back although I do have a map. You have to decide what is the risk and then try and mitigate it.

    Lightspeed. I agree with Skvez.

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