14 SHTF Preparedness Tips and Tactics

Are you prepared for a fully blown SHTF situation? Chances are you’re just now getting into the game of SHTF preparedness and need a few tips and tactics to get you started. We all start somewhere and most are lucky to start at all. Taking the first step by researching and preparing you put yourself way ahead of the pack. Let’s start with some of the basics.

1.) Know your enemy

Once you understand the enemy you can prepare for war

Preparing for an SHTF situation requires a close analysis of your current environment. What are the most likely types of situations to effect you and or your family? For most of us this could mean a loss of a job or a primary source of income. Prepping for financial disaster is not as glamorous as building a fallout shelter but running into financial trouble is at the top of the SHTF preparedness list.

Start brainstorming other likely scenarios. Maybe you live in a flood zone or an area where there are lots of protests and violence. Read my post on planning for an SHTF scenario to setup a detailed plan for yourself. Once you understand the enemy you can prepare for war.

2.) Have a bug out plan

Time to get out of dodge…

You need a secondary location you can escape to of TSHTF. If your entire city or town is getting overrun by an external force you can’t control, where will you go? Think about your nearest safe haven. This could be a cabin in the deep woods or the house of a family member or friend. Think about different ways you can reach this location in case the roads become blocked or otherwise impassable. The idea here is setting up a way to get from point A to point B in one piece.

3.) Coordinate with a team

Alpha to Bravo…do you copy!

There is strength in numbers. Your chances of survival are greatly enhanced if you can form a team and work through a strong survival plan. Each person in the team has a different skill they can bring to the table. If planned properly each member of the team can practice a skillset before TSHTF. For example, one of you can become skilled at HAM radio communications while another can learn to trap, hunt, and shoot weapons. Anybody can take the EMT course and learn basic medical procedures for injuries. Together these skills are a true force to be reckoned with and greatly enhance the chances of each individual making it through the situation.

4.) Get in shape

Lose the weight

Lose the belly and begin working on a physical fitness regiment. You don’t need to become the next great bodybuilder but having the ability to walk long distances with a pack is beneficial. Getting in shape has a number of positive benefits outside of surivival which don’t need to be harped on. You will look good and feel great – and that’s the entire point of life outside of a survival scenario. Your quality of life will increase 10X if you can squeeze in a couple of hikes and a full body workout 2 – 3 times a week.

Some of my personal favorite excercises are pull-ups, burpees, squats, and hikes. Pullups and berpees hit nearly every single muscle in the human body while hikes condition your response to prolonged cardio. Let’s imagine you can’t use a car because of a roadblock or EMP blast. How do you think you’ll get around? That’s right, you’re gonna have to use those chevrolegs my friend.

5.) Throw a bug out bag together

Basic supplies to prepare at a basic level

The bug out bag is the cornerstone of any solid SHTF preparedness plan. It tops the list in terms of preparation. A good bug out bag will have all the gear you need to survive 72 hours plus gives you the ability to secure your own supplies. In the bug out bag will be 72 hours worth of food and water plus additional supplies.

Here’s a sample of what a decent bug out bag might look like:

  • The bug out bag (I recommend the Rush 72)
  • Survival knife
  • Flashlight
  • Fire kit
  • Water filter
  • 72 hours food + water
  • Change of clothes
  • Stainless steel cooking thermos
  • Medical kit
  • Emergency radio
  • Important documents (ID, Passport, etc.)

Here is a checklist you can reference for a full list of bug out bag supplies.

6.) Stock up on food

Rice and beans again?

An obvious one for sure. Take any extra cash you have floating around and stock up on survival food kits with a long shelf life. Lot’s of companies offer freeze dried products good for up to 25 years. These foods can be eaten and rotated every 5 years. Having a weeks worth of food is a good start. Living in the first world it’s very unlikely to have a power outage last more than a couple days tops.

7.) Secure clean water

I fear what lurks in that well…

Water is the most crucial survival element to the human body. What happens if you turn the faucet on one day and nothing comes out? What if your only source of water is that old pond or reservoir down the road? This water will certainly need to be treated before you or your family consumes it. For a single person I’m a big fan of everyone in your party carrying either a Life Straw or a Sawyer Squeeze water filter. These devices will easily filter out harmful bacteria. A larger scale option for families is the Berkey water filter. You don’t want to catch a case of the runs in a full blown SHTF situation.

8.) Survive without power

More than just candles and Uno

Tell me something – what would you do right now if the power went out. Would you lose it completely because you aren’t prepared? Think about how you will generate electricity without the grid. Generators are a great start and propane gas can power lot’s of nifty things like stoves, heaters, and lights. At the bare minimum have a few cheap flashlights and a couple candles around. Having basic equipment like this in stock will hold you over until the power goes back online. For extended outages have a few board games and a deck of cards handy for a little entertainment.

9.) Arm yourself

Probably gonna need more ammo

It doesn’t matter what kind of firearm you get – just get something. Shotguns are a great jack of all trades weapon while rifles allow for more range and accuracy. Get one and practice shooting until you can competently hit a target consistently. I’m not a gun fanatic like many preppers but having something to defend yourself with and/or hunt is crucial to SHTF preparedness.

10.) Make copies of important documents

License and registration please

Make copies of documents like your ID and passport and store them in multiple locations. If you lose the originals these can still prove useful. You never know when you’ll be forced to up and leave at a moments notice. Having these copies stashed in your cars, place of work, and other locations will ensure you’re close to them at all hours of the day.

11.) Carry spare cash

Cash is king

Cash is a great bartering item alongside being the only form of currency you’ll be able to use at stores if the power goes out. It’s been easy to become far too reliant on the plastic chip in your wallet but when it comes to SHTF preparedness, cash is king. Keep at least a $100 bucks in different denominations on you at all times. I like to keep my cash in a money belt especially if I’m traveling.

12.) Have a communications plan

Comms UP

When the grid goes down and you can’t use your cell how will you communicate with your team? For starters you’ll need to understand how HAM radio works. From there you can work on getting licensed and securing the equipment required to communicate off grid. When the cell and power towers go down you’ll need a self sustaining setup to communicate with the world around you. While modern day cell towers will be non-functioning, old school lines of communication like radio will be alive and well.

13.) IFAK (Individual First Aid Kit)

Blood on the horizon

No SHTF preparedness kit is worth the weight unless there’s a decent medical kit inside. The IFAK is one such kit with all the supplies you need to treat wounds and injuries out in the field. You can buy premade kits or you can go the DIY route which will no doubt save you money. Any good IFAK has the following supplies:

  • Protective gloves
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Band-Aids
  • Small and large wound dressings
  • Super glue
  • Medical tape
  • Gauze
  • Clotting agent (Celox)
  • Cravats
  • Sling
  • Molle pouch

14.) Educate yourself

Read to lead

The great thing about the survival community is there’s lots of information out there. Entire Facebook groups with thousands of members have been formed around the subject and survival shows seem to be a dime a dozen. There is no shortage of places to go for both education and entertainment. My favorite form of education to this day is books. I’ve assembled an entire post on the best survival books and best bushcraft books. I recommend reading those posts and picking one from the list. You will no doubt come out of the material a much smarter survivalist.

SHTF preparedness conclusion

These are a few basic tips to get you all prepped up for an SHTF situation. While these are great starting points, you should know it’s impossible to fully predict or even prep for an SHTF situation. You do what you can to cover most of your bases and then improvise. Much like our ancestors, your survival in any situation will come down to your preparedness and ability to think quickly on your feet. Happy preparing and God speed!




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