Let's start prepping

I never imagined I would write a blog on the topics of preparedness creating a stocked and working pantry, Go-Bags, or emergency kits yet here we are

How I got here personally: 

In October of 2000, I was a doe-eyed high school grad making her big move to South Florida for college. Remember, this is a pre-cell phone - dial-up AOL internet and prepaid calling cards for communication. I might have been better off with a carrier pigeon. As we packed my ‘92 red soft top jeep wrangler for the drive, my mom gave me a large red duffle bag that I am sure I laughed at and my eyes rolled at the time. It was a hurricane/emergency bag. Of course, the teenager who was off to live on her own never thought she’d need such a thing. Here I am 21 years later writing a blog at this red bag. 

This emergency bag played a vital role on a September day in 2001. With limited phone access, 1500 miles away from home, and honestly scared. I loaded the red bag into my jeep and went to a family friend's home to wait like the rest of the world to see what might happen. This bag became my most prized possession at the time. Packed with clothing, non-perishable food, cash, laptop, toiletries, and basic necessities I felt calm and taken care of. All thanks to my mom’s smart thinking many months prior. 

In an effort to be transparent, we (P & I) have never been preppers or had an inventory of items in our home. Instead, we do what most do; make a weekly trip to the grocery store to “stock up” on the items we’d need for 5 - 6 days. With a dodgy list at best we’d fill our cart that if we were lucky would get us through the week or supplement a few ready-made meals or dine out.

2020, woke me up!  

  • I woke up to the bigger picture of what can happen when you aren’t in-tune with your health and wellness.  
  • I woke up to the lack of overall preparation in our home. 
  •  I woke up to the general lack of preparation in my daily life.  

You might be eye-rolling me by now thinking that “something that this or that” will never happen. Folks, it happened and is happening. Never did I think we’d be scrambling for basic human necessities, yet we saw what happened in early spring of 2020.  

Laughing to myself as I continue to draft this post based on a conversation I had with P about an hour ago. We recently purchased a set of jumper cables and a battery box for my Jeep. The purchase was about $45 - $50 and the old us would have chalked the purchase up as “unnecessary”, “expensive”, or “we will never need it”. Instead, we would have spent the $45 - $50 on useless decor from a big box store, clothes we do not need, or a meal out that is less than satisfying. If this is you, you aren’t alone, this is how we thought and operated for years. Another reason we have taken on the preparedness lifestyle is due to our love for camping and hiking. Which requires us to be prepared for weather changes, limited access to nearby supply stores, etc.

If the idea of prepping is brand new to you the suggestions below might offer a starting point. 

Keep in mind, the process can feel overwhelming at first, though once you get started and have an idea of which items would suit you best, the process can be fun! 

There are a million ways to prepare with no one right or wrong way

except...not being prepared at all.  


Key items to include in your Go-Bag

Initially, my suggestion would have been to focus your time and resources toward creating a working pantry (if you've created a Go-Bag already, scroll down as I discussed how to create a working pantry). Instead, I’d like you to create Go-Bags for every member of your household (pets included) first. Using household items and clothing you should be able to create Go-Bags at a minimal expense. 

You’ll need a bag for each member of your household - backpacks are ideal - though any durable bag would work.  Remember, you want to use a bag that you can throw on your back, withstand dirt, water, and grime. Ladies, those beautiful designer bags aren’t going to get the job done as pretty as they are. 

Well versed preppers might suggest different bags such as:

  • Go Bags / Bug Out Bags
  • Get Home Bags
  • Never Coming Home Again Bags
  • SHIT (Sh*t hits the fan) Bags

The plan for this bag is for a few days of being without power, access to your home, etc. Additionally, your bag should not be overly heavy or contain every single item that isn’t nailed down. Keep in mind that this pack is to hold you over for a few hours to a day or two max.

Focus on incorporating items in your bag that are seasonal or specific to your area. 

  • Do you need hand warmers in South Florida or in typically warm-weather areas? 
  • Additional ponchos might serve you better? 
  • Do you need bug spray for the dead of winter in the North East?  

Having a baseline of items to include is ideal and adjusted seasonally along with rotating your snacks and water.  

P and I each have a Go-Bag in our vehicles specific to ourselves. We have recently decided to create a second bag of each other’s items in the event we are together and need supplies. The decision to create a second bag is because we felt prepared already. 

My suggestion would be to keep a bag in your car at all times that is your primary bag but can also serve to help others traveling with you. If you have kiddos or pets who travel with you on a regular basis, my suggestion would be keep to a bag in your trunk or cargo area that will be there should you need it.

If you have young children you might be able to combo their items into one bag since they are smaller. I’d say anyone over 6 or 7 years old should have their own bag to carry - again, a backpack is ideal. 


  • Canteen or Metal Water Bottles that could be heated over a fire
  • First Aid Kit
  • Sewing Kit
  • Food and Snacks - make sure everything you include is placed into resealable plastic bags. I’d suggest ideals with pull tab tins that do not require a can opener. However, a can opener should not be overlooked.
  • Glow sticks 
  • Paracord
  • Wet wipes or towelettes
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Hand warmers
  • Beanies, scarf, and gloves - seasonally

  • Neck Gators
  • Mechanic gloves 
  • Duct tape and/or electrical tape
  • Pens, Paper, Sharpies
  • Emergency Contact Info - laminated or protected in a sealed bag
  • Cheapie Sunglasses
  • Allergy Pills or Medication

Clothing & FOOD

  • Sweatpants / leggings / shorts
  • Sweatshirt / long sleeve t-shirt, t-shirt
  • Undies (2 - 3 pairs of clean undies - ladies, I recommend sports bras)
  • Socks (2 - 3 pair) 
  • Sunglasses
  • Baseball cap
  • Neck Gators
  • Beanies, scarf, and gloves - seasonally
  • Cheapie Sunglasses


  • Allergy Pills or Medication
  • Travel size toiletries - Opt for scentless products when possible.
  • Baby Shampoo & Body Wash
  • Deodorant
  • Toothpaste & Toothbrush
  • Contacts & Contact solution, extra pairs of contacts
  • Contact wears - I might suggest a trial of Hubble Contacts as an option for daily disposable contacts.  
  • Bug spray
  • Sunscreen


  • Canteen or Metal Water Bottles that could be heated over a fire
  • First Aid Kit 7 Sewing Kit
  • Glow sticks 
  • Paracord
  • Wet wipes or towelettes
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Hand warmers
  • Mechanic gloves 
  • Duct tape and/or electrical tape
  • Pens, Paper, Sharpies
  • Emergency Contact Info - laminated or protected in a sealed bag
  • LifeStraw or Water Tablets


  • Food and Snacks - make sure everything you include is placed into resealable plastic bags. 
  • I’d suggest ideals with pull tab tins that do not require a can opener. 
  • However, a can opener should not be overlooked.




Prepping your pantry for preparedness is far different than stocking up for a snowstorm if you live in an area like we do that can have substantial snowstorms. Skip the potato chips, sugary cereals, comfort foods, etc. Instead, focus on meals that can be stretched out, require minimal ingredients, and provide higher calories. I'll compile a list of recipes and food combinations for another post in the coming days.

We use a working pantry and stocked pantry system: Basically, it is ONE OUT, ONE IN continually replacing your stockpile of items. We "shop" from our pantry on a daily and weekly basis as we cook throughout the week. We do grocery shop on a weekly basis due to the high volume of fresh produce and perishable items we consume weekly.

The Primary Objective is to focus on stocking your pantry with Shelf Staple Items with a decent shelf life:


  • Dry Pasta
  • Canned Pasta - think Spaghetti-O’s or Ravioli
  • Pasta Sauces
  • Oatmeal - canisters and packets
  • Grains 
  • Rice
  • Dry or Canned Beans
  • Lentils - in all varieties 


  • *Canned vegetables
  • Salsa
  • Applesauce - large jars and single servings
  • *Canned Fruit
  • Frozen Vegetables (any and all varieties)
  • Frozen Fruit


  • Flour 
  • Sugar
  • Baking Powder
  • Baking Soda
  • Pancake/Waffle Mixes


  • Instant Potato Flakes
  • Boxed Plant-Based Milk
  • Cereals
  • Fruit Bars
  • Jerky
  • Stocks (vegetable, chicken, etc)
  • Canned or Pouches of Tuna / Chicken
  • Peanut Butter - large jars and single servings
  • Honey, Jellies, and Jams
  • Canned Coconut Milk


  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin D
  • Multivitamin
  • Green Powders
  • Electrolyte
  • *Protein Powders & Bars


  • Rice Krispie Treats
  • Energy Balls
  • Trail Mix
  • Nuts and Seeds
  • Dried Fruit


  • Cases of water - yes, this is an ongoing debate about single-use plastic - a debate for another day


  • Instant Coffee
  • Teas
  • Powdered Creamers
  • Water Flavorings

*Of course these aren’t ideal foods for a primary health-focused diet, these are foods in the event there is a natural disaster, snowstorm, closings to do a pandemic, etc. you can get buy. In those situations ingredients that can provide many servings are going to be far more valuable than your $25 takeout order. 


  1. Yes, this is going to add to your grocery budget.
  2. Ideally, you could add week by week, but in the current state of events. Do the best you can with what you have access to and can afford. 
  3. Avoid eating any single served items at home and reserve those items for your Go-Bag’s or for days when carrying a reusable container isn’t feasible. 
  4. Single Servings or pre-packaged meals, snacks, and treats are EXPENSIVE!
  5. Do not buy items that you aren’t going to eat!
  6. If you choose to focus solely on creating a stockpile of shelf-stable goods - this is about creating a stockpile of ingredients that can be put together to get you through a handful of days without needing specialty ingredients. 
  7. If you follow a medical or allergy specific diet (like gluten-free) make sure to have items on hand, but if you are on a “diet” similar to keto, low carb, shakes, etc. This isn’t the time to cling to those diets, again, this is about calories and sustainability. I hope this isn’t scaring you, this is simply to put it into perspective and keep it real.  

Personally, we have canned ravioli in our pantry, I am GF and Plant-Based on a daily basis - if SHTF, I fully intend to popping the top and enjoying my ravioli with my spork. 


The work begins.  

  1. Create an overall inventory list of what items you were able to source and create a working list of items you still need.
  2. Make Grab-and-Go kits you can throw in your car should you need to evacuate.

Option: You can purchase food supply containers which are great but can be pricey and a challenge to source currently.

You can also get super technical and assemble grab-and-go bags based on certain meals throughout the day, but honestly, calories are what I would focus on. Especially if you need to bug out or are stranded due to weather or car trouble.  (We’ve seen the tv shows and movies - where help seems to magically appear - let’s save that for the screens and be realistic).




What’s in your car? 

  • Jumper Cables and Battery Charging Pack 
  • Atlas 
  • Blankets (wool is ideal, sleeping bags, or other blankets)
  • Water
  • Snacks
  • Cash and Change
  • Tow Kit 
  • Change of shoes - if you wear heel or dress shoes to work, those items won’t be practical if you need to walk - old sneakers or boots would serve you greatly
  • Flashlight
  • Road flares
  • Plastic Poncho or Rainsuit

Remember, this is all about being ready for whatever could happen. Flood, fire, hurricane, tornado, etc.  

Again, you might be thinking that I have lost my marbles. Truth is, if you ever travel with me, even to run errands around town you know that I am stocked with snacks and water because without those things I am a bear! 

What else should you consider purchasing?  

  • A crank radio
  • Collapsible shovel
  • Solar-powered battery packs
  • Camping Stove 
  • Generator
  • Sleeping Bags
  • Tent
  • Rain suits and boots
  • Cooler for frozen/refrigerated food in case power goes out and you need to leave without refrigeration and have access to ice

Prepping for something that might never happen can feel like a sting to the bank account, wouldn’t you have more peace of mind knowing you are prepared and not having to fight the crowds at the store and can carry on with life as normal as possible? This is what prepping does for you gives you peace of mind and doesn’t hurt the bank account as a panic buying trip might. 

Due to the current situation and unrest, I felt it was vital to share this blog post and realize that it might not be as polished as some of my other posts, this is due to trying to get this out as quickly as possible. If you have any tips, suggestions, or recommendations to add - please email me at photogirlgetshealthy@gmail.com

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