How To Prepare for Civil Unrest: What to Do for Safety?

No matter what your political opinions are, there’s no denying that tensions in America are coming to an all-time high. Riots and protests pop up all over the country, and they might be a precursor for a larger, more dangerous civil unrest.

Not to mention climate scientists have adjusted the environmental collapse timeline, stating we might reach a climate threshold by 2027. Whatever your reasons are, it’s clear that preparing for some kind of doomsday is not only necessary — but critical.

In this article, we’ll discuss how to prepare for civil unrest, what kind of products and tools you’ll need, and how to make a preparedness plan.

How to Prepare for Civil Unrest

Probably the most important aspect of prepping for any kind of disaster, be it political, environmental, or biological, is to have the right equipment.

The media has convinced a lot of us that the most critical tools are weapons, which isn’t necessarily the case. While weapons are important, there are many other aspects to consider as well. These include:

  • Food
  • Shelter and Clothing
  • Transportation
  • Medical Supplies

Below, we’ll assess what items from each category are necessary to have, and which ones are lower down on the shopping list.


Humans can live for up to two weeks without food, but nobody wants to do that, so it’s important to have enough stored away. Our bodies require water and about 2000 calories per day to maintain our current weight. If you are operating in the field long-term, that number will need to increase. The general rule is that your body needs 3,500 kcal/day to be properly fueled.

It’s very difficult for preppers to estimate their individual calorie requirements, so it’s best to err on the side of caution and have too much food rather than risk not having enough.

In a crisis situation, you will need an adequate supply of both fruits and vegetables. Of course, it might be hard to have fresh food, so stockpile canned foods. Frozen foods are good, but if you end up losing electricity, they’ll all go bad quickly.

Fruits and vegetables are key to long-term survival because they’re low in fat and high in nutrients, which will help to keep your immune system healthy. You can also use them as barter items if you need to.

Other food staples include rice and beans, as well as gluten-free grains such as buckwheat and quinoa (if you can find it). Pasta is also a good idea.

It’s best to stockpile food that doesn’t require cooking because if the power goes out for an extended period, you definitely won’t have time or energy to cook anything. One of the most common questions preppers get is what they eat when their freeze-dried food runs out. They typically eat pre-prepared foods such as MREs but also have their own home-canned goods.

If you have a well-stocked pantry and a bit of time on your hands, you can dehydrate fresh fruits and vegetables to create your own snacks. If you have a dehydrator, this is a good way to preserve your excess produce.

Water is another critical aspect of food storage. While you can store cases of bottled water, it might be better to invest in a filtration system so that if the water sources run dry or become contaminated, you’ll still have clean drinking water. The Berkey filter system is good but pricey. There are cheaper alternatives, such as LifeStraw.


Impending environmental collapse makes it difficult to gauge the climate of the apocalypse. Chances are it’ll be alternating between extreme heat and extreme cold.

It’ll also be highly unpredictable. We all know that North America and Europe can experience snow in June, and summers where temperatures never dip below 100˚F (38˚C).

It’s best to stockpile clothing for both seasons. That means long-sleeved natural fabrics such as cotton for the winter, and light materials such as linen for the summer.

Some people prefer to stockpile warm clothing without worrying about materials, and simply add a down vest or parka when they need it. In this case, you’ll have more gear which will take up space in your shelter. It might be better to stick to natural fabrics so you don’t need to worry about the added weight, especially if you live in a cold climate.

A good sleeping bag can be used for warmth or protection against insects. The best option is something with an integrated mosquito net, but this will set you back some extra cash. If you’re creative enough, it might be possible to make your own using a sleeping bag and mosquito net from a hardware store or sew a simple sack out of a blanket.

As far as shelter goes, there are a couple of options. Some hardcore preppers invest in hidden underground bunkers, which are ideal for nuclear collapse. The bunker method also helps erase climate from the equation, because you’re relatively protected from all the elements while underground.

But bunkers might not be in your price range. In the event of intense civil unrest, a remote hideout is probably a good option. Hunting camps and cabins in the woods are great places to prep for a disaster.

You can build a log cabin or a tiny house using found materials for fairly cheap. Pallets, construction-site extras, and lumber off-cuts are inexpensive.

When you start building your bug-out place, make sure to consider a few critical elements:

  • Protection – Fences, windows and doors you can easily seal up from the inside, and security cameras
  • Self-Sustainability – A way to grow your own food, filter your own water, and generate your own electricity via solar panels or wind energy
  • Seclusion – pick a spot off the beaten path, a place people normally won’t come to unless they have a reason. Also consider camouflaging your hideout with paint, brush, or other found materials. Nothing sticks out in a sea of green like a brightly-painted house.

If you’re not the most construction-savvy person, there are plenty of DIY videos online about building sustainable, remote structures.


We’ve all seen the wild, junkyard vehicles of Mad Max and The Walking Dead, but those might not be the most efficient modes of transportation.

If you choose to live in an area with a lot of roads and urban activity, a motorcycle is a good choice. They’re fast, cheap to fuel, and highly maneuverable.

Conversely, if you’re in the woods with a lot of back roads and dirt paths, a dirt bike or ATV might be a good option for getting from place to place.

There’s also the consideration of fuel. A massive economic and civil collapse probably won’t do the fossil fuel industry any favors, and gasoline will become a coveted item.

Electric vehicles might offer more security because you can power them using pretty much any kind of energy, like solar, wind, or straight out of a conventional wall socket.

That being said, electric vehicles are quiet and becoming more popular, so finding one won’t be that difficult.

The next element to consider is vehicle reinforcement. You probably won’t be ramming through droves of zombies, so you can forget about the big spikes on your car’s grille.

However, riots and looters might break windows, slash tires, or fill your gas tank with sand. Take some precautions to ensure you won’t lose your transportation on the first supply run. Invest in bullet-proof glass, locks on your gas tank, and if you’re really into it, there are new, airless tires that are resistant to vandalism.

Medical Supplies

The best way to initiate physical trauma recovery is with medical supplies. Unfortunately, medical supplies aren’t cheap.

It’s highly recommended you get your hands on some basic first aid kits for use at home or in your bug-out place. The more equipment in the kit, the better.

The best medical supplies to purchase include:

  • Medical gloves
  • Surgical needles and thread
  • Israeli bandage or tourniquet
  • Bandages, gauze, and surgical tape
  • Trauma shears, scalpel, and forceps
  • Antibacterial ointments like Neosporin
  • Icepacks and braces (wrist, ankle, slings, etc.)
  • An antiseptic wash, like hydrogen peroxide or isopropyl alcohol

Plus, if you have any pre-existing conditions, you’ll want to stock up on what you’ll need. Inhalers, insulin, blood pressure meds, etc.

And other items that might be nice to have on hand include vitamins and supplements in case of a food shortage. Vitamin C, iron, and Vitamin D are all essentials.

If you’re not an EMT or in the medical field, you should brush up on your medical skills. Who knows what can happen during a disaster, so you need to be prepared for everything. Learn how to reset dislocated joints, stitch up flesh wounds, and perform CPR. There are plenty of helpful books and videos out there that give you a run-down of these procedures.


Even though weapons aren’t a high priority in a survival situation, they’re still essential.

There are a few different kinds of weapons you should have on hand:

  • A reliable handgun – They’re light, easy-to-use, and relatively cheap.
  • A hunting rifle or a shotgun – A .22 is good for hunting small game, but you’ll need a higher caliber if you’re going to tackle deer or bear hunting.
  • Bow and arrows – Ammunition might be hard to come by during civil unrest, so having a backup for hunting and protection is essential. If you don’t a chance to buy a bow, there are a few ways to craft your own.
  • Hunting knife – This is a utilitarian tool, used for gutting and skinning game, day-to-day operations, and protection.
  • Hatchet or an ax – In addition to chopping brush or firewood, a hatchet can act as a last-resort weapon if you’re in danger.
  • Melee weapons – This might seem a bit intuitive, but if someone breaks into your shelter or threatens your family, you’ll need a non-firearm weapon by your side. This can be a combat knife, a machete, a club, or any other blunt weapon.

Now, we recommend keeping all of your weapons in a safe place, away from children. And you should always use proper gun safety when handling firearms.

If you didn’t grow up hunting or using firearms, take a gun safety course. They’re fairly cheap, and you can usually score a session all by yourself! You can schedule an NRA safety course online or link up with someone who’s a certified instructor.

When Should I Start Preparing For Civil Unrest?

No one knows when civil unrest will pop up, or when disaster will strike, so you should start preparing now. Better to be ready for anything.

If you don’t have a lot of funds at your disposal, start small. Do survival skills training, like building a torch, fishing, and hunting.

And take a look at some doomsday prepping guides online, they can provide a lot of insight into the necessary materials, equipment, and strategies for getting through a sticky situation.

Develop a Survival Plan

When we were kids, our teachers would often encourage us to talk to our parents about a fire escape or disaster plan. Survival plans are similar, and you should get all of your immediate family involved.

Talk about what you’ll do in environmental collapse or civil unrest. Set a place you’ll go, decide on safe words, and keep in frequent contact.

Even if you don’t have a camp or all the means for a self-sustainable, off-grid existence, having a survival plan and some essentials will put you ahead of the curve.

And while you’re educating yourself on important medical and survival skills, get your family involved. Take a gun safety course with your significant other or teach your kids the basics of bushcraft.

At the end of the day, there are a lot of moving components to how to prepare for civil unrest. But, as long as you spend some time collecting gear, developing a plan, and doing your research, you’ll fare better than 90% of people out there.