The Best Prepper Tech for Non-Preppers

DIY microgrid and more

Thomas Smith
Published in
9 min readNov 9, 2020


Photo: Construction Photography/Avalon/Getty Images

I’m not a prepper. But 2020 has thrown a hell of a lot of upheaval and disaster our way and I’ve found myself increasingly focused on building my family’s resilience in the face of calamity, using gadgets, DIY tech — and some weird, oily meal bars.

I’m in good company. Wired reports that since Covid-19 struck, companies who previously served the gear needs of “fringe survivalist” (read: preppers) are now receiving so many orders that they can’t keep up with demand. Sales of basics like masks and hand sanitizer are up 319% and 79% respectively, and bespoke companies like Preppi are offering disaster kits that can cost $10,000. Disaster prep has become mainstream — maybe even trendy.

I’ve always had a fascination with extreme weather and natural disasters. While other kids were enjoying the folksy misadventures of the Hardy Boys, I was reading the SAS Survival Handbook cover to cover. I’ve had experience with real extreme weather, too. While driving through Northern California in 2014, I saw a giant, funnel-shaped cloud snaking…