Rural Versus Urban Prepping: How to Prepare

Rural Versus Urban Prepping: How to Prepare

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Today, we are going to talk about Rural Versus Urban Prepping. Prepping will look a little different, depending on whether you are an urban dweller or a rural dweller. Depending on where you live, you will have to make some major decisions now to ensure you are prepared for a SHTF scenario.

What is Urban Living?

If you live in an urban area, you live in or near a city. So, if you live in a town, city, or even the suburbs, you are living in an urban area. An urban area is usually very developed with stores, gas stations, bars, shops, etc. 

What is Rural Living?

If you live in a rural area, you live in the country. This means there is a low population density and there is a lot of undeveloped land and/or farmland.

Rural Versus Urban Prepping

Obviously, there are advantages and disadvantages to living in the city and the country. I personally would love to live off-grid, but it isn’t alway feasible to live in the country. So, I am going to break down the pros and cons of each for you.

Rural Living

Rural Versus Urban Prepping: How to Prepare

Rural living has its pros and cons, but many preppers would prefer to live in the country. Here are just a few of the pros and cons of living in the country: 


  1. You are further from the city and away from dangers such as crime, congestion, noise, pollution, etc. 
  2. In a rural area you can depend on natural resources such as trees, rivers, lakes, and wildlife. 
  3. You may be more adept to know and use survival skills like fishing, hunting, canning, fire starting, farming, and growing a survival garden. 
  4. You aren’t seen by the masses. Less people typically means less problems. 


  1. Laws may become nearly nonexistent in remote areas first, so there may be more dangers than you realize. 
  2. If you live in the open, not in the woods, you may not have places to go if dangerous situations come up. 
  3. Rural preppers are usually off on their own, which means you have to be careful who you can trust. Just because there are fewer people doesn’t mean they are trustworthy. 

Urban Living

Rural Versus Urban Prepping: How to Prepare

As with rural living, urban living has its pros and cons, too. Although many preppers would prefer to live in the country, it isn’t always possible. Here are just a few pros and cons to living in the city:


  1. You have access to constant communication about what’s going on. News travels faster in the city. This gives you the advantage to react quickly. 
  2. There are more places to hide, duck under, and cover. This is good if you are attempting to escape an attacker. 
  3. You still have access to sporting activities like fishing and hunting if you want to travel a reasonably short distance. 


  1. You will need to understand that when SHTF, you will have to depend on your saved up resources such as food and water. 
  2. Many urbanities depend more on frequent trips to the grocery store, which will likely be wiped clean in a crisis. Therefore, you will need to double your stocks. 
  3. There are a lot of people. This means you not only have competition for groceries and goods, but gangs can band together to take over resources of the weak. More people equals more threats. 
  4. Increased risk of sickness and disease with more people. 

Rural Versus Urban Prepping: How to Prepare

As you can tell, there are a variety of differences between living in the country and in the city. This means you have to be able to prepare yourself for the different situations where you live. We have to be able to think of our threats, on one hand, and the benefits on the other. With that being said, here is your guide to Rural Versus Urban Prepping.

Rural Prepping

When it comes to prepping in rural areas, you have a lot more options. Obviously, you can still head to the grocery store at the city closest to you, but you can also be self-reliant. Here are some ways I would recommend you prep if you are in the country:

Read More of My Articles  13 Survival Uses for Paracord

Store Water

Whether you live in the country or the city, your very first priority is making sure you have fresh drinking water. You can live for a few weeks without food, but you can ONLY live 3-days without water. If you live near a water source, check out my guide on the Best Ways to Purify Water. However, you also want to have water stocked up that you can drink without worry. Check out my guide on How to Store Water for Drinking and Cooking


The second thing you need to worry about for any SHTF scenario is food. When it comes to food supply in the country, you have several options, and you can do all of them!

  • Stock up on non perishables from your closest grocery store.
  • Plant a garden and grow your own fruits and vegetables.
  • Invest in livestock. Raise and butcher your own livestock for meat. In addition, you could have a cow for milk and chickens for eggs. 

If you have livestock that you can raise and eat, you will want to stock up on food for your livestock. Have at least a 6-month supply of food for the animals to eat. 

Learn to preserve your food that you grow in your garden through canning, freezing or dehydrating it. If you aren’t sure how to can food, please get the book: “Complete Guide to Home Canning.”

Related: Survival Food and Emergency Food Storage

Hunting/Fishing Equipment

If you live off-grid, you can use your land to possibly hunt and fish. Keep in mind that as things communities progress and get more congested, it’s because others will have the same idea. You may want to think about stocking your freezer now. Be sure to stock up on things like a bow and arrow, shotguns (ammo), knives, and fishing poles so you can get your own food. 

Related: How to Make Heat in a Can for Hunting or Survival

Home Protection

In the country, you aren’t just protecting your house and its belongings, you are protecting your whole property. Most preppers that live in the country will have livestock and a garden you need to protect as well. 

You may think living in the country means nobody will bother you, but you do have some real threats you have to think about:

  • Crime and violence can go undetected in rural areas. 
  • Rural areas lack the benefit of neighborhood watch which can deter crime.
  • You live in large open expanses. 
  • Crime is less likely to occur, but the odds of deterring intruders is reduced. This is because you have a much larger space to cover.

Protect what you have by: 

  • Spreading out your security equipment. In addition to having security equipment throughout your grounds, you will want it to be able to run your household and possibly the outbuildings with a backup generator as well. 
  • Have sensors. You will want to have a motion sensor that will trigger such things as floodlights or a siren, or maybe an alarm to notify you of an intruder. Having a dog can help work too. 
  • Using electric fencing around your livestock. This helps prevent people and predators from accessing your livestock. 

Other Things to Stock

Here is a list of other things you will want to stock up on. They may not be things you could live without, but you may not have the best hygiene, or not feel your best without them. 

Urban Prepping

Living in the city means you have to be on top of your game. You have to know your threats and you have to prepare with a purpose. 

Do You Bug In or Out?

Many people who live in urban areas may wish to bug out when the SHTF. Obviously for smaller scenarios, you may bug in. Your preps may determine whether you will bug out or bug in during a SHTF scenario. Here’s how you know when to bug in or bug out:

When it’s time to bug out:

  • A natural disaster is imminent. This means where you live has the potential to be unsafe. This could be a flood, wildfire, hurricane, chemical spill, or other significant event.
  • If staying put is more dangerous. If your home is right in the middle of where disasters or emergencies will happen the worst, it’s time to get out. 
  • The transportation system is down. If all transportation is down, the shelves will be empty in days and people will begin to loot.
  • Your stockpile is almost gone. Yep, you may have planned and prepped, but if the event lasts longer than what you expected, you may need to bug out.
Read More of My Articles  How Prepared Are You For An Emergency

Keep in mind that you will need several ways out of the city if you plan to bug out. Highways will probably be flooded with panicking people. 

When it’s time to bug in:

  • Going outside is more dangerous than bugging out. If people aren’t prepared like you, they will do whatever they can to survive. Sometimes being locked inside gives you the best chance of survival. 
  • You have nowhere to go. If you don’t have a safe destination within a reasonable distance, stay where you are and prepare to bug in. 
  • It’s too suspicious to bug out. Being on the road during the worst of it can make you an easy target. 

Related: 15 Reasons Why You Do Not Want to Bug Out

Make a plan for when you will bug in and when you will bug out. If you choose to bug out, know where you will go and several routes to get there. You will also want to prepare your bug out bags!

Have a Bug Out Bag

If you are thinking you may bug out in certain circumstances and you have a place to go, you will need bug out bags for every member of your family. Check out our Most Comprehensive Bug Out Bag Checklist for more information on what to prep. 

Store Water

Again, whether you live in the country or the city, your very first priority is making sure you have fresh drinking water. You can live a few weeks without food, but you can ONLY live 3-days without water. If you live near a water source, check out my guide on the Best Ways to Purify Water. However, you also want to have water stocked up that you can drink. The American Red Cross recommends 1 gallon of water per person per day. Check out my guide on How to Store Water for Drinking and Cooking


When it comes to prepping food in the city, you are limited on the options available. In the country you can be more self-sufficient for the most part, but in the city you really have to rely on your preps. This means food storage needs to be very calculated. If you live in the city, you will probably get most of your food from the grocery store. 

In the country, you could have just a few months of food stored up, and then just live off the land to keep your supplies up. But in the city, it is hard to replenish on your own without being able to grow a garden or raise livestock.

So, I would suggest having at least 6-months to a year of food and water stored up. Please check out my guide on Survival Food and Emergency Food Storage for information on what to prep. 

Home Protection

Another thing you have to think about when you live in the city is home protection. When you live in the city, you could have to deal with looters and other crimes as people panic. Check out How to Prepare Your House Against Looters to find out how to prepare your home against it, and what you need if it happens. The information in that post is great to do regardless if it’s looting or another crime. 

Other Items You Will Need

In addition to what is mentioned above, you will want to make sure you have other necessary items on hand: 

Related: Homemade Soap Recipes from Scratch

Final Word

I personally like the idea of living in the country, but for many of us, it just isn’t possible right now. When it comes to prepping, you also need to not only prep food, but know how you can cook it, so think about those things as well. Additionally, be sure to check out 30 Non-Food Survival Items to Stockpile

Whether you are prepping in the city or in the country, remember, to stock the necessities and add in the extras. Did you find this guide on Rural Versus Urban Prepping informational? Let me know if I missed anything by using the comments section below! Please keep prepping, we must. May God bless this world, Linda

Copyright Images: Urban Suburban Homes Deposit photos_39363733_s-2019, Wooden Country House Deposit photos_3212682_s-2019, Cozy Home Rustic Depositphotos_47901521_s-2019

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  1. Good stuff. We’ve got some rough unpredictable times ahead of us near future I believe. I’m guessing the majority of readers here aren’t looking for trouble but that dont mean it won’t find ya.
    For those that hadn’t started it’s not too late and for those doing keep on trucking. Small steps go a long ways.
    I’ve got a group coming over today including a brand new one to preparedness.
    We are making hard tack and putting it in Mylar with O2 absorbers. Making the amount we will we are gonna use the oven, propane smoker cabinet without the smoke and a propane bbq grill to cook/dry it.
    Thing is when he leaves he’ll have that and some small bags of rice we picked up to teach him how to Mylar too. He’ll be able to eat a few days within the next 20 yrs should something happen. He will also leave with new skills.
    We gain not only LTS food but time working as a team.

  2. Great article Linda!

    We have been very satisfied with a predator deterrent called Nite Guard. This Is a small solar powered device that flashes a red light all night long in an irregular pattern. The units are attached to fences or buildings at various heights, with the flash being directed towards the most likely places predators would come from. The flashing pattern makes the predators feel they are being watched.

    Ours have been in use over a year. They have worked well, literally flashing from twilight until full daylight, even when we had several days of rainy or fully overcast weather. I credit the NiteGuard units with helping keep our baby goats safe last year, as well as protecting the hen setting a clutch & the newly hatched chicks this year.

    The NiteGuard solar powered units are available online. I know Jeffers Pet & Livestock Supply carry them. I will be ordering a few more to have as backups for whenever the present units wear out.

  3. We are surburban which has advantages over urban but not as many as being in a rural town. I don’t have a place for a garden, our backyard is 100% shade. We are trying tomatoes in the flower bed and herbs on our deck. I need to do some investigation into CSAs in our area as a source for fresh veggies.

    Another lockdown like this past one wouldn’t be so bad and we are preparing for it. With that lockdown it was nice that we could still get fresh fruits and veggies. We also had full electric, water, gas and internet. Even garbage pick up was continued.

    We are planning to replace what was used and pick a couple new things to try during the next lockdown. Unlike the last lockdown, I didn’t have time to fill the freezer and this time we will get that done. We are planning to cook all next weekend to get things done. With all 3 of us working together, we should get lots done.

    Right now our state has declining numbers, so we should stay open long enough to replace supplies.

    1. Hi Still Learning, great comment! I call this last lockdown or current lockdown I guess it’s a trial for those who have never been prepared and may never be. Thank goodness you were prepared. I really LOVE your statement about this ONE we had full electric, gas, internet and garbage pick up. We may not be so lucky next time. I LOVE your comment, Linda

  4. Great post as always, Linda.
    I live on the outskirts of a city – considered a moderately large “town” but the biggest issue I see with where I live is that it is the capital of my state! Therefore, we tend to have a number of large protests, not just currently but also in the past and certainly coming up in the future!

    With that said, it is VERY important if one lives in a city to know where NOT to go! For example, I know during these times that I will not drive through downtown at all! The capital building, governor’s home, mayor’s home are all within walking distance to downtown. There have been current protests of BLM and COVID-19 with vandalism to the capital buildings and at least the mayor’s home. Needless to say, there are always going to be actions downtown that I just plain don’t want to get mixed up in!

    You know, Linda, that I feel pretty well prepared for things that could happen right where I live. But, as I said in previous posts, I have some holes. Well, just last week I filled one of those holes with seeds! I have basic get from the store garden seeds and generally rely on starts from the nursery for my little balcony garden but I wanted LTS seeds. Finally found them on Amazon so I got heirloom garden seeds – 40+ varieties and both culinary and medicinal herbs – 20+ varieties for both (note: some herbs are in both culinary and medicinal so that is good). I cannot recall how much I paid – could look it up but it was not exorbitant by any stretch as my budget doesn’t allow for too expensive!!

    As far as you lists on this post goes, I have all of the items. Something that I do believe you need to put on the list and something that I have in all my bags is plastic. I have the kind that you can tape over windows and doors for the purpose of cover if glass is broken out or if there is an issue with air quality.

    Anyway, we all must continue to prep and use our common sense when it comes to what else we might need/want if we bug in. Bugging out is a whole different ball game and my bags/kits are prepped and ready to go in a moment’s notice. I will survive!

    1. HI Leanne, a great reminder to ME about getting the plastic to cover my windows. I need that ASAP. Thank you! I KNOW you will survive. I’m so thankful I met you through my website. You have the knowledge to teach others and take care of yourself. I’m going to go online and look for the Heirloom seeds. I have a lot but sometimes you can never have too much! Linda

  5. I’ve always thought that people can borrow from both areas of survival, urban and rural, to find ways to meet all their needs.

    I feel as if living in the suburbs can be viable for a long term crisis if you have a decent amount of yard space, some open areas that the neighborhood might agree to use for gardening. Our house and the others on our street are zoned as agricultural while the later built homes are close together and have maybe a quarter acre of land if not less. But there are ponds and other small bodies of water and thus places to fish, which if they were managed well enough, could be a regular food source.

    We have 3 and a half acres, share a pond with one neighbor forwards of us (We’re yards back from the street) and we have a well and a pump, but need a manual one as well just like the old western pumps which they still make today. We could plant food and have a chicken coop and some other animals even maybe goats or a couple of pigs. I imagine that this street and the people on it could be a resource for the others and we could organize something such as an exchange of protection, labor and so on. That would keep the whole neighborhood civil and friendly and cohesive. Chances are we might have an excess which we can’t even store. I raised birds and when they’re mating the numbers can get out of hand.

    More restrictive suburban communities would have to work things out, probably over turning any home owner association policies that prevent surviving an emergency. My younger brother shares his backyard and thus can’t build anything or grow anything on it. Personally, I’d have told them they were nuts and looked elsewhere for a house. My brother did buy an emergency backup generator for hurricane season and window covers. I don’t know what they would do if they had to leave. So far he’s never asked us about coming here or raised the question of “What if everything goes bad”?

    1. Hi Frank, I was just talking to my husband that we need to be prepared for riots. He is too relaxed for my way of thinking. He supports me on prepping but I think he is naive about how mean people will get when they have no food, or water. God bless us all, Linda

      1. I assume that all of us here can figure out that the people on my street would be “juicy” targets for those thinking that larger homes and lots might yield people with the money to buy a lot of supplies or that with the extra land and at least 6 houses having ponds that we’d be good places to look for food and supplies. Even rioters may come looking for supplies since they were not smart enough to plan their invasions before they started them.

        I feel we need to be as covert as possible, have enough guns and ammunition to repel thieves and I’d like to have dogs to patrol the yard and scare people away. If we produce enough to share then we can help others with seeds, starter plants, and even any excess food. Security wise, we need more eyes and hands.

        We would need to organize everyone and bring them together lest we have constant fighting and thievery. Even though he’s not a full time prepper, my father was a Marine Colonel so he could apply his leadership skills and maybe get everyone to watch out for each other.

  6. We need a third word to describe small town dwellers. We live in a small town with an Air Force base nearby. There’s a very small “down town” & neighborhoods but no housing developments. Most people here grow some food & many keep a few chickens. There are ranches outside town limits & it’s possible to buy meat “on the hoof”. Part of me would love to be way out in the boonies like I used to live but realistically my age probably make that infeasible. I think this is probably best for me. There are people nearby to help each other, a small hospital, & in case of trouble a lot of handsome young men & women in uniforms who are very protective of “their” town & people. Good article, as usual.

  7. I once lived about 30 miles west of Houston.Richmond was a suburb of Houston. My mother and I chose to bug In during a Hurricane. A large number of people tried to leave at the last minute. it created a massive traffic jam. Many of the people did not have full tanks of gas in their vehicles. Many of them ran out of gas.That made the traffic jam even worse. some people on motorcycles robbed the disabled vehicles. The Hurricane eventually made land fall 300 miles away from the Houston area.
    Crime can hit you no matter where you live.But we must not become totally paranoid about it.
    If you decide to bug out; Carefully plan your evacuation. Be sure to plan the route you will take to get to your destination. Have paper maps ready(in case your GPS goes out).

    1. Hi Elbert, I don’t understand why people don’t keep their gas tanks full (unless unemployed, I get that). If you have 12 hours notice even that may not be enough to fill your tank. Just keep it above 3/4 and then you can top it off when evacuating if need be. Or you can make it to the next town and fill up. That is so sad that people attack or rob others. It really makes you wonder where they learned it. that’s probably a dumb statement. Are they lazy and don’t want to work to earn money or did they learn it from example. Plus, drugs can alter minds. So sad. Stay safe, Linda

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