Let’s Talk Strategy: Prepping with Layers and Locations instead of Lists

Get home bag

I’ve recently been on a kick of organizing my preps. Organizing starts with lists, of course, but it doesn’t end there. In fact, if you keep a few lists handy and assume that you’ll be able to go down the checklist and quickly gather up all the items when disaster strikes, you may be kidding yourself.

Instead of counting on a list when the time comes, my approach is to put preps in a few specific locations in order of priority.

There’s my “oh crap, I have to get out IMMEDIATELY and have no time to gather anything, so I just grab this box and run” spot.

Then right next to it is, “I can make one or two more trips to the car, so I take this next” spot.

Then there are two other “ok, I have a good 20 minutes and can really load up the car” spots that I’m still working on.

This way, when the time comes, I can just skip the step of looking over a list and mentally checking things off and just go down a circuit of a few locations grabbing what’s there and loading it up.

In conjunction with the above, I’ve also adopted a layered approach to organizing the preps in each location.

In the “oh crap, I have to get out NOW” spot, I keep a small “possible’s pouch” handy that has the basics in it–tools for fire starting, a water filter, some space blankets, cordage, a compass, a fixed blade, first aid kit, and a few other items that I wouldn’t want to be without in an emergency. If I had to bug out and this was the only thing I could grab, I’d have the basics covered.

This is also the kit I’d wear on my person at all times in a SHTF situation, just in case I’m separated from the rest of my preps.

All of the items in this smaller kit are duplicated in both of my much larger bug-out kits, which I keep handy and organized and which contains a lot more stuff. These larger kits go in my “return trip to the house” spots, as mentioned above.

My larger kits are kept in medium-sized Rigid boxes from Home Depot, and they’re specialized for different types of preps. One will be mostly medical supplies, batteries, toiletries, and the like, along with some preps for NBC attacks, while another will be more traditional camping type preps.

My point is that if I’m bugging out, I’d want to have access to all of my kits, ideally. But if the worst happens and I only have time to grab one or two, then there’s at least enough overlap that I’m not totally screwed because I have a few basics in each one.

So, ultimately, I take a location-based, layered approach with some overlap because I can’t count on having access to all of my preps in every scenario, and I also can’t count on having the time or presence of mind to go down a checklist.

What’s your approach? Cram it all in an INCH bag? Keep lists and lists of lists? Sound off in the comments.

I want more stuff like this!

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