As preppers we need to plan for a variety of supplies and inventory them after they have been acquired. We need some sort of categorization for them. Even the name of this Blog, “Beans, Bullets, Bandages, and You” refers to a basic categorization method for supplies to be inventoried in case of disaster.
I use a categorization method for myself that I am going to share here. You can use it, or modify it to meet your own needs. We’ll use these categories in a subsequent post on Budgeting.
Consumable vs. Durable Supplies
Supplies can be “consumable”, i.e. once they are used they need to be replaced, or “durable”, i.e. once you have acquired them, you can use them over and over again. When planning or inventorying consumables you need to consider how long your supply will last, e.g. a year’s supply of food, but this makes little sense in the context of durables. Ever heard someone talk about a year’s supply of Bug Out Vehicles (BOVs)? That’s because a BOV is durable.
Within “consumables” one can break out subcategories to further assist in planning. One could even break down the categories further, but I use these:
- Water: clean and potable, or the supplies necessary to make the water supply clean enough for human consumption. Water is a huge storage problem unless a constant supply is available.
- Food: Food and the necessary supplies to prepare and consume the food. Don’t forget the can opener! Food is also a huge storage problem and the storage needs to be temperature controlled.
- Hygiene: You need cleaning supplies for yourself and your surroundings.
- Medical/First Aid: First Aid supplies, prescriptions for chronic medications and antibiotics, more extensive supplies if you know how to use them.
- Energy: Depending on where you need you need heat for home and cooking, transportation, and electronic gizmos. Depending on the type of fuel planned, storage may present a fire safety problem.
- Ammunition: I’ve already written about ammunition. Ammunition does not take a tremendous amount of storage, but it should be temperature controlled and secure.
Ultimately, consumables need to be renewable, e.g. a prepper needs a source for running water, or a homestead farm for food, etc. Consumable goods can be stored for a period, but storage only works for a limited period.
For “Durables” categories I use the following categories:
- Firearms: Your choice of firearms for your MAG. Always a fun topic. 😊 Security is key with firearms.
- Clothing: Extra outdoor/work wear, cold weather clothing, etc.
- Shelter: Housing and Bug Out Location (BOL), tents, etc.
- Transportation: BOV anyone? Trucks, cars, bikes, etc.
- Communications: Radios, pen and paper.
- Tools and Materials: Anything you could buy at Home Depot belongs here from flashlights to plywood.
- Library: See my earlier post on collecting a “Prepper Library”
Durable goods will last for a long period of time and while a backup may be worth having, durables should last indefinitely.
Bug Out Bags
Some may wish to consider Bug Out Bags a category on their own, but I view them as a few day’s supply of all the categories above, especially the consumables. Some of the categories may be simplified in odd ways, e.g. “energy” may simply be a fire starter kit instead of multiple cords of firewood. Transportation may be a good pair of boots. 😊
Planning by Category
Planning your preps is rather difficult without some sort of categorization. The supplies required are too diverse to consider all at once without confusing yourself. However, planning for a single category is much easier. For instance, you can plan out the food your group needs for a month given calorie needs, variety required, and any other factors you think important. You can then multiply that plan by the number of people and the number of months you are trying to prepare for.
You can choose the categorization you like. Beans, Bullets, and Bandages is one categorization. The one I described above is another. You can add, subtract, or change the categories to make it easier for your own planning. Once you know the target for the category, you can figure out the cost, and storage requirement, for that category.
You now need to reconsider goals. You will be trying to support a certain number of people for a certain period of time. Set goals you can actually achieve. Once you achieve those goals, you can set more aggressive goals. Your goal might be supplies for a month for a family of four. Once you have met that goal, you can expand the number of people you intend to care for, or the length of disaster you want to be ready for. My goal is 20 people for a year. I am not ready for that yet, but that’s what I am working toward. I started with a less ambitious goal. If I achieve my goal, then perhaps I will set a new, more ambitious goal.
This may seem a lot more complicated than “Beans, Bullets, and Bandages”, but it works for me. I am not recommending this categorization for you. I am recommending that you figure out what categorization helps you in your planning and tracking of where you are against those plans. This categorization is just one prepper’s example.