The Only One Size Fits All Prepper Plan

As I surf around the web, it seems there are more and more people out there who claim to have a One Size Fits All prepper plan/list/course they want to sell you. Then, there are others, like myself who loudly declare that there is no One Size Fits All Prepper Plan because it’s impossible. What works for one person and family will not work for many others. Plans made for surviving a disaster in Arizona will be completely different than a plan for surviving a disaster in Maine. Then, the truth hit me like a freight train. There really IS a true One Size Fits All Prepper Plan. It consists of the things that every living thing needs to live, to survive.


Most prepper plans get into fine detail and provide lists of things they think you need, places to get them, etc. Sometimes they sell you these lists of items. For some, it may be very helpful to have it spelled out for them. For others, they look at the list and think “This doesn’t work for my area, what a waste!” The truth is that not every person needs product A or B. Need is usually a subjective term that doesn’t apply to everyone the same. In fact, there are only 5 things that humans truly need to survive and they make up the only true ‘one size fits all prepper plan.’ The only variation on the list is how you will fulfill those needs.

We will detail the things absolutely every single person on the planet needs to survive and then give suggestions on different ways you and your family can meet those needs in a way that suits you. Ready to jump in?! Here we go!


Though not often mentioned when talking about prepping, air is rather necessary. Having clean air to breathe is pretty important! If you find yourself in an area where the air isn’t so good and you can’t get to a place that has clean air, consider making one room the ‘main’ area and block off the other rooms by closing doors and windows. If you can, cover them up with blankets or tape plastic sheets (consider cutting a garbage bag and unfolding it) to minimize the air flow. Beyond that, there are still a few other things you can do to be more prepared.

  • Masks
    • Simple surgical masks will go a long way to limiting how much bad air you breathe in.
    • Air filter systems can be purchased and installed but in a large disaster scenario, chances are pretty good the power will be out.
    • Gas masks are another option and are less expensive than you think. These are a little more extreme but it is a viable option!


Hands down the most important prep there is for without water, everything else stops. Every living thing needs it to survive! We also need water to clean our bodies, clothing, and keeping wounds dry. Cooking with water, especially in a disaster situation is a big deal, too. Think of all those dehydrated meals as one example. You may not be flushing the toilet or taking showers everyday but you’ll need more water than you think! To survive, each person needs a gallon of water a day. This amount doesn’t include washing, first aid, or cooking. You need to drink about a gallon of water a day to maintain hydration. If you have 4 people and are making even a one week prep plan, that’s 28 gallons of water! Don’t forget Fido or Whiskers, too.

As stated above, you need to be able to catch or gather, filter, and store the water.

  • Catching or Gathering Water
    • You can use the gutter system on your house (or other buildings), disconnect the downspout and get it from there. Other options include wells, lakes, and streams. Be mindful of the color, smell, and look of the water. If it smells bad, try somewhere else. If it has a lot of algae, chances are pretty good the water is stagnant and not safe. Of course, with filtering and boiling, you can make it safe.
  • Filtering or Treating Water
    • There are all manner of filters available out there and it’s up to you to choose which one will serve you and your family best. For a good list of options for emergency water filtration, click here. It has everything from a hand held individual sized filter to something that can serve an entire home and medium to large sized groups.
  • Storing Water
    • Sure, old milk and juice containers will work and hold the water but if possible, get something larger. In a pinch, plastic totes will work well for not only catching the water, but also storing it once filtered. Keep the lid on top so debris like dust and ashed can’t get into it. There is always the bathtub that you could use to store water and don’t forget the water heater! It has water in there and can hold more for you, too!


Like any machine, we need fuel to keep going. In a survival situation, the fuel used and needed goes up considerably. Everyone needs it but not everyone thinks beyond the next day or week, leaving them in a real pinch when you can’t just go to the store and get more. A lack of food will incite more panic than no water will for most survivors and that starts the looting. You don’t want to be anywhere near a grocery store during a SHTF event! Though we all need it, people’s preferences and dietary restrictions vary and that is why it’s up to you to decide what, how much, and how to store it.

One of the best pieces of advice I can give you is to never stock things you don’t normally eat! Food is a huge comfort mentally and having a sense of normal, especially when eating, goes a long way to making it through. There are so many options out there about what kind of food to get and store that many preppers are left in indecision. Here are some things to remember when planning the food part of your prep plan:

  • You want stuff that’s already shelf stable, meaning it doesn’t need refrigeration.
  • You’ll want stuff you can heat and eat, whether that’s in a can or a pouch.
  • You need to decide whether or not you want to use freeze dried food like Mountain House (I love their beef stroganoff!), or canned meats and veggies to get by. Consider the benefit of having food preservation equipment (and skills) on hand. Those who know how to preserve food without electricity are very rare! When only one person in a 5 block radius knows how to preserve food, there’s a problem. Learn at least one food preservation method ASAP! Pickling is a rather easy one (and inexpensive!).

This is the only ‘one size fits all’ plan. How you meet the needs is up to you!


Humans are strong in brain power but weak in flesh. We need shelter of some kind from the elements out there and preferably a place we can trap heat in, too. Shelter is one of those things that is very fluid when it comes to survival. If in the city, there are all manner of places you could use for shelter (assuming you didn’t have a place to go already of course). If you’re in rural areas, you can make shelters from the resources around you like a lean-to. If you have tarps, you can use them. If you like to go camping, never underestimate the usefulness of camping gear in a survival situation! Your shelter needs can be put into two categories: staying in or bugging out.

  • Staying In (Bugging In)
    • This assumes that you are staying at home (or other family member’s home) and huddling in. Even though your shelter need is covered by doing this, there are still things you need to consider such as keeping heat in, hardening doors and windows in the case of potential looters, dealing with garbage and bathroom waste, etc.
  • Bugging Out
    • There is a LOT of information out there about bugging out and this can be its own article in itself. Remember that when bugging out, your bag should have what you need to meet all of these things on this one size fits all survival plan. The normal standard is having enough to last you for 72 hours (3 days). Click here for some insight on the food portion of the bag and links to many other articles about surviving while bugging out. Again, this is where camping gear can really come in handy!


Warmth is the last thing on our list but that doesn’t mean it is any less important than the others! If you’re too cold, you can’t hold onto the matches to light a fire. If you’re sick and out in the elements, your body will spend more energy on keeping warm than fighting the infection. If you have a woodstove, great! For those who don’t, keeping warm can be tricky. Here are some options:

  • Blankets, sleeping bags, space blankets
  • Hand and foot warmers
  • Piling on extra clothes, wearing thermal underwear
  • Keep moving or huddle for warmth
  • Fire place, oven, etc.
  • Even a candle in a small space can heat things up!


There’s no denying that the needs listed above – Air, Water, Food, Shelter, Warmth – is something everyone needs to live, let alone survive. This is truly a ‘one size fits all’ list! The way you meet those needs, though, that is entirely up to you. Don’t let anyone else tell you what is best for YOU and YOUR FAMILY! Remember that skills will take you further than stuff. What do you think? Share your thoughts below!