Don’t let anyone tell you that being a suburban prepper is a bad idea or impossible.
When you start prepping, everything tells you to leave the city and live in a rural community, but what if you want to be a suburban prepper? is that possible?
Yes! It is!
Preppers who live in a suburban or urban area can still be ready for whatever heads their way with planning and skill development. From learning how to garden to defending your home, prepping in the city is totally possible. It doesn’t mean you can’t survive; you can thrive.
Here’s how to get started prepping in the suburbs.
What is a Suburban Prepper?
If you’re reading this while sitting in your house in the middle of the suburbs, a suburban prepper is YOU!
A suburban prepper is someone who lives in the suburbs, works their normal job, raises their family, and tries to prepare for whatever life throws at them. Around 50% of America lives in a suburban area, so chances are this description fits you.
Some people believe that more suburban people identify as preppers than anyone else. Those who live in rural areas might do some of the same things, but it’s part of their daily lives, so they don’t classify certain things are preparedness steps.
Suburban preppers focus on gathering food and water supplies, securing their homes, preparing to bug in or bug out, and other actions that will increase their preparedness. They might have a garden in their backyard along with their kids’ swingset, a few firearms they shoot on the weekends, and a couple chickens running around.
Does this sound like you?
If so, congratulations, you’re a suburban prepper!
Not Everyone Can Move to a Rural Area!
Living in a rural area is great, but not everyone has the opportunity or desire to move from their suburban or urban home for country life. Too many prepper websites advise suburban preppers to move to the country, but that’s not always practical.
Moving your entire life is HARD!
Some reasons that relocating into a rural community is impractical include:
- Taking care of family members
- Providing good schools for your children
- Easy access to medical care due to health concerns or pre-existing conditions
- Not wanting to leave their job, especially when the economy might be in turmoil.
- Being upside down on your mortgage
- Custody orders with minor children
- The cost of relocation
The advice to simply relocate to a rural area is impractical for most. Rural communities offer fewer job opportunities without a long commute, fewer schooling options for kids, and harder access to medical care.
The Pros & Cons of Being a Suburban Prepper
Any location that you select has pros and cons, including rural communities. Everyone believes that rural is better for prepping, but that’s far from the truth. Living in the suburbs offers you benefits that others may not have, so embrace your location.
Pros of Being a Suburban Prepper
Here are a few reasons why being a suburban prepper is awesome.
1. Ease of Finding Supplies
If you live out in the middle of BFE, finding supplies is harder and requires a longer drive. Stocking up and simple grocery trips take more planning. Purchasing last minute supplies isn’t easy if you have to plan to travel.
When you live in the suburbs, stocking up means a quick trip to the store. If you see a good sale on peanut butter, taking advantage of it takes 10 minutes.
2. More People to Join You
Some people view neighbors and other people as a burden when it comes to prepping, but what if we thought of them as assets? Good neighbors help when disaster strikes, and if you have a small community prepared, you’ll make your neighborhood safer. More people working together also means more skills and a better chance of survival.
3. Easier for Scavenging
It doesn’t take long for looting to begin during emergencies, but scavenging isn’t possible in a rural location. What you have is what you get. Suburban preppers can make supply runs and check to see what is available places.
4. Some SHTF Don’t Happen Here
There are some situations that suburban areas don’t deal with that rural areas do. For example, wildfires never happen in an urban area, and you don’t need to worry about predators in your backyard. Accessing medical care is much easier when the hospital is 10 minutes away rather than an hour.
5. Smaller is Easier to Protect
Protecting a large homestead that is five acres large is much different and more complicated than protecting your small, suburban home. A well-fenced suburban home might only need one or tow people to defend it.
Cons of Being a Suburban Prepper
While there are pros to being a suburban survivalist, living in the civil also has its cons. Here are a few examples.
1. Too Easy to Control
One of the most noticeable cons is that urban and suburban areas are easier to control, especially in a martial law scenario. It’s easier to get corralled or rounded up with other people. Preppers worry about door-to-door searches that might happen in city locations.
2. More Competition
During a crisis, being in an area with a lot of people means that you have more competition for those resources. You need to get to them before other people, so that means being vigil and acting faster. It also means you might need to get forceful with others.
3. Mob Mentality
When a bunch of people are together, mob mentality is real, and it’s dangerous. When you have a bunch of angry people together who want to get back to their lives, it leads to dangerous things.
4. Hard to Be Self Reliant
If you live in the suburbans with a decent backyard, being self reliant is challenging, but you have options. If you live in an apartment without a yard, it becomes increasingly harder.
How to Prepare for SHTF in the Suburbs
There are many things that you can do to create a preparedness plan while living in the suburbs. A SHTF doesn’t have to take you by total surprise. People who live in apartment buildings, HOA-neighborhoods, or beachfront condos still have the ability to prepare for a disaster scenario.
We need to debunk something right now – where you live doesn’t determine your ability to survive when the SHTF.
Your ability to survive depends on how prepared you are and what the situation at hand is. Don’t assume that a suburban survivalist is unable to bug out to remote areas; where someone lives is not a good evaluation of their survival skills.
If you want to prepare as a suburban prepper, here are the most necessary steps to take.
1. Fortify Your Shelter
One of the first things you want to do is focus on your shelter – your house. A fortified shelter is the first line of defense during an emergency. Here are some things that you can do to prepare.
- Install a security system in your home.
- Build a wooden, tall fence that surrounds your property.
- Keep your home well-cared for and without needed repairs. Damaged or broken down homes won’t hold out those who want to come inside.
- Consider adding shutters to your windows that you can close and lock.
- Pick a metal door instead of one that is wooden.
2. Have Water Storage
Hopefully, in most emergencies, your water supply from the city will continue to flow to your home. In the event that changes, it’s vital to have a good water storage supply available.
Experts recommend that you store a minimum of one gallon per day per person in your family. You need at least one weeks’ worth of water stored for your family, and don’t forget to include your pets as well.
If you’re preparing for larger emergencies that will last longer than one week, grab a few water storage containers and start keeping them in a cool, dry, dark location, such as your basement or garage.
3. Store Food
Storing food is the next biggest goal. Make a goal to store enough food to last your family one week, and then continue to add to your storage. Focus on storing non-perishable, calorie-dense foods that will keep your family fed ad happy.
4. Make Sure You Have Security
Competition is a real threat when you live in the suburbs, so you need to have firearms available. Don’t wait until a crisis happens to get them because they might be restricted or entirely unavailable.
5. Build a Community
While you don’t want to broadcast to the entire world that you are a prepper, building a community in your neighborhood of people who want to be prepared is a wise idea. It’s impossible for one family to learn all of the skills needed to survive a long-term crisis.
How to Survive When SHTF as a Suburban Prepper
Surviving when the SHTF will take more than some preventative actions. You need to be proactive and know how you’ll take care of your family. It takes time and skills to be a suburban survivalist.
1. Make a Suburban Homestead
All suburban preppers should focus on being a suburban homesteader as well. Check the laws of your city to see what farm animals are permitted in your neighborhoods; more are allowing chickens and ducks.
If you decide you want a suburban homestead, here are some ideas to get you started.
- Plant fruit trees and berry bushes in every spot possible on your property. These will produce fruits for years to come.
- Have a vegetable garden as large as possible in your backyard. Focus on using raised beds, vertical gardening, and square-foot gardening methods to increase your production.
- Raise as many chickens as possible.
- Try raising and butchering a few meat chickens.
- Have a few beehives.
- Try raising quail. These animals are quiet, small, and lay tons of eggs.
- Learn how to preserve the food that you grow by canning, dehydrating, and fermenting.
2. Work on Your Suburban Survival Skills
A big part of being able to survive in the suburbs is having the right skills to do so. Don’t let anyone tell you that suburban folks can’t survive; with the right skills, anyone can survive.
Here are some suburban survival skills to learn.
- How to gather and filter water properly.
- Take your family camping and learn how to make a shelter in nature without tents.
- Practice starting fires in your backyard when you have campfires.
- Learn all about the wild edibles that grow in your area and how to identify them.
- Get a HAM radio and give it a try.
- Practice your first aid knowledge. Make sure you have plenty of medical books on hand.
- Learn how to preserve all of the foods that you grow and raise.
- Focus on your situational awareness, paying attention to the world around you on a daily basis.
- Take a few self-defense classes because survival in an urban or suburban area will require you to defend yourself.
3. Create a Prepper Home
Your prepper home in the suburbs should have what you need to survive. This is your chance to create the best environment for your family to survive.
Make sure you have a pantry and a hidden food storage area. In the event of door to door raids by officials looking for supplies, they shouldn’t be suspicious if you have nothing available. You want to be the grey man – the one that doesn’t stand out in the crowd.
Have a hidden storage or multiple storage areas throughout your home. You might consider burying caches in your backyard as well.
Make sure that your home is defendable. If you have the money, consider adding shutters that come down to cover the windows, or use hurricane shutters as a lower budget option. A strong, wooden fence is perhaps the most important defense, hiding the preps in your backyard.
What you don’t want is a home that screams “I’m a prepper who is ready for anything.” You want your prepper home to look like every other home in the neighborhood.
4. Plan to Bug In
In most emergencies, bugging in is the safest choice; bugging out has inherent risks and should be undertaken only as a last resort. Bugging out shouldn’t be your first choice.
Know what bugging in means for your family and how to do so completely. Discuss this with your family, including kids who are old enough to understand emergencies.
5. Know How to Bug Out
Bugging in is the optimal choice, but you have to be prepared for whatever comes your way. That means having a plan on how to bug out with your family. Create the perfect plan for your family, show it to everyone, and know how to put the steps into action if the need arises.
6. Keep Things a Secret
Lastly, it’s best to keep your prepping plans a secret, even if you gather local families to help be prepared. Never discuss all of your preps and how your family is fully preparing for emergencies.
Be a Suburban Prepper
If you love to live in the suburbs and also love prepping, you don’t have to give up either. Being a suburban prepper is a great choice, and with the right skills and preparedness plan, you will be ready for whatever comes your way.