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Product Selection Guidelines For Preppers

June 14, 2012 by  

When, in the course of “human events,” it becomes evident that the “junk” has hit the fan, your medical, bug-out, vehicle and home kits need to work well and last through whatever life may throw at you.

The process of weeding out the “fluff” to get down to the meat and bones of a good product you can bet your life on (and your family’s lives) can be annoying at best and detrimental to your survival at worst. In an effort to show you some basic solutions to the challenge of selecting such important components of preparedness kits, Category Five has developed these helpful guidelines.

Length, Width, Height: Start With The Basics

Making sure you have room for items in your home, vehicle or bug-out bag will save you both time and money. You would be surprised how many of your “favorite” bug-out tools won’t actually fit into your bug-out bag. You may spend a lot of time making sure you’ve considered every other guideline (below), but if it doesn’t fit, it doesn’t ship.

Capacity: How Much Can It Hold?

Make sure it can contain what you want to put into it (or carry on it) as well as ensuring that the capacity measures up to your specific needs.

Adults need more water than kids do; men need more food than women do. Not carrying enough of something is almost as useless as not carrying it at all.

Weight: A Much-Underestimated Category

This can make or break every step of a journey. Make sure an item is necessary. If not, leave it behind.

Construction: Because They Truly Do Not Make Things Like They Used To

Take your time to research the quality of what you’re purchasing. Customer reviews of just about any product can be found online. Pay attention to what customers are saying, but be aware of false reviews and fake review sites that are nothing but marketing engines for the product manufacturers.

Price: A Deterrent For Many People To Preparing In The First Place

Hand in hand with quality construction, you often get what you pay for.

There may be some amazing deals where there is a world of difference between two products of the same price, yet don’t fool yourself into thinking you can build a great kit for $20. Spend twice as much up front for something that will last, or buy four of the same thing over and over because they keep breaking. In the end, spending more can save you money.

Shelf Life: Father Time Is Not Always On Your Side

A cousin to quality construction, shelf life is specifically reserved for perishable items (i.e., food, medicine, chemicals). The bottom line: Make sure it will be around when you need it. Have a plan that accounts for rotation. If possible, spend more for a better product like freeze-dried versus dehydrated foods.

Value: What Is Included?

With so many preparedness retailers available, you can often get a great package deal. However, don’t neglect the other guidelines and allow yourself to get sold a package of junk. Are you getting the best bang for your buck or double the trouble?

Utility: Does It Multitask For You?

As Alton Brown from the Food Network would say: “No unitaskers!” Always purchase something that can be used for things other than what you bought it for. Multitasking helps with system redundancy as well as weight reduction.

Check out for some great videos and ideas, or simply surf the Internet to help get your creative juices flowing.

Having these basic questions answered at checkout will help ensure you do not have buyer’s remorse and will give you peace of mind that you have a quality product you can depend on when you need it most.

–Christopher Teasdale and Austin Fletcher

Austin Fletcher

is the Executive Director of Category Five, a Preparedness Education Network, and is a prepper at heart. After graduating from Arizona State University with a degree in Global Business Management, Austin spent seven years in pastoral ministry while building ministry and business relationships around the globe. During that time he became keenly aware of the coming financial storm that is upon us today, and has been prepping ever since. For this reason, in early 2009, Austin and his team at Category Five began to change the original purpose of the organization to become what it is today. Prepping is not about being an expert in survival or having experience as a former Special Forces soldier; prepping is about building on the strengths of those you prepare with and educating yourself about things you can control. This is the idea behind the Category Five, and the necessity of a Preparedness Education Network.

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  • GALT

    COOOOOOOLLLLLLLLL will you take a check?

  • Hedgehog

    If you are a Canadian, don’t bother to check out They don’t ship to Canada. I just sent them a snotgram telling them what I think of that policy.

    • Austin Fletcher

      Hedgehog… Thank you for bringing this issue to our attention. An update was recently done to our website content management system and all of our international shipping rates were lost (unknown to us until now). You should have no problem placing an order for Canada now.

      Sorry for the frustration it caused.

      Sincerely, Austin Fletcher

  • druoak01

    Christopher Teasedale & Austin Fletcher(very interesting names or?) I’m very pleased to see a realistically written & critical topic discussed here. Like many, for years I just thought all this talk was just fear mongering, with maybe an underlying $ incentive. That was up until I learned of Bush’s response to Hurricane Katrina. It left me with that gut feeling that something wasn’t quite ok. When I learned that THE VERY FIRST THING THE FEDS DID TO LAW ABIDING CITIZENS BUNKERING DOWN IN THEIR OWN HOMES WAS TO FORCEFULLY TAKE EVERYONE’S GUNS AWAY! VIDEOS POSTED ALL OVER YOU-TUBE. IMO, that was just a practice drill. OBama’s arrogent attitude towards the Supreme Court, is a red-flag give away about how he really feels about the American People, no matter how much he publicly cow-tows in the media. Oh, please do TURN OFF THE IDIOT BOX or at least use it minimally. Watch the news you say? C’mon now, do you really think the popular media is telling you what’s really going on anyway? NO WAY! Real news can be accessed via the internet radio show telecasters like Alex Jones, Coast-to-Coast AM Radio & countless others. These alternative news sources do charge a small monthly fee for 100% access, but what’s $6-7 a month when getting the facts is the difference between life or death? The Drudge Report is also highly recommended. Here’s some suggestions for info & supplies, how-to books, etc. that I know about:, From these sites, other sites can be found as well. This is not a “sell” statement but the Alex Jones site does have the cheapest prices I’ve seen on the net, no lie. Stay safe Patriots & God Bless! Constitutionally Yours, Joseph Froton, Salem, NH

    • http://acc2hoyle Meta

      What am I missing here? It was/is my understanding that the fed was wanting to get into NO but the mayor was a “stopping stone”. Why does everything get blamed on Bush? What’s wrong with you? I am not a dem nor a pub but even I am able to see the truth.

  • FreedomFighter

    All the gear in the world wont save your butt if your out of shape…

    Spend the next 90 days if we have that much time, getting in the best shape of your life — and get the good gear, the combination will keep you alive allot longer.

    Laus Deo
    Semper Fi

    • jrcoke

      You know, FreedomFighter, your comment is perhaps the best I’ve read. I’ve not seen this specific advice before, but then I have just started surfing prep sites. Humping a pack, even a thirty-pounder, cross country is not for the couch potatoes!

  • Sandra Knopf

    I suggest that you read the novel “The 5th Journal” by Matt Sims. It is an amazing novelization of what could happen


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