When I first started getting into prepping, reddit, Facebook, YouTube and many other sites which are incredible resources for me today didn't exist so my initial knowledge came from books and from clandestine communities living in the pre-internet world of BBS's. These days however, the world is your oyster, but where should you go for the best information?
By a country mile, Reddit is the best resource for prepping these days, in fact it's the best resource for practically everything, if there is more than (or occasionally only) one person who is interested in something, you can guarantee there will be a Reddit Community for it, these communities are known as 'subreddits' (aka 'subs') and can be found by visiting https://reddit.com and either searching, reading through the front-page or, more commonly for most people, searching for your search term on Google and adding 'reddit' to the end of the term.
Fair warning if you end up leaving the beaten path on Reddit, this site is a mirror to humanity and whilst it has the best of us there, it also has some of the worst, reddit’s moderators are pretty good at cracking down on the bad subs but people are sneaky and will hide their true topics under unassuming names or they will hijack a dead, random subreddit which is about an unpopular topic and start posting their awful content on it. If you find one, either a) leave immediately, b) report them to the mods or c) stay there for a bit and piss of as many people as possible. I personally recommend a combination of b and c.
There's also just a lot of weird shit there too.
Here are a bunch of subs related to prepping and its adjacent topics:
If you join only one, join this one, it has over one hundred thousand members, most people are level-headed and helpful and there is a ton of knowledge to be had
These people are prime examples of 'none prepper preppers', this is just how they live their life. They don't really post prepper stuff, just homestead stuff, not only is it wholesome and heart-warming to see them live their lives this way but you also can learn a crazy amount of stuff from them. (Plus, lots of pics of baby goats and chickens and cool home-made items)
These two are UK specific but are not as frequently used or visited, I have them on my list simply because sometimes you need more local information and I am currently in the UK.
These are the 'also rans' of the prepper reddit community, there are some good posts on here sometimes but their combined subscriber count is barely 10% of /r/preppers and as a result you sometimes get the 'doomsday' variety of prepper on here. These subs are also more popular with the right-leaning members of the prepper community (not a criticism, merely an observation).
- /r/shtf <- This one is actually pretty good at times but thanks to its name, you get a fair few nutters there so you need to be able to mentally filter some of them out.
There are also some reddit links that are occasionally interesting to browse but I must strongly advise you that these are not prepper subs, they are mainly people talking about the post-collapse world and speculating as to what it might be like and also trying to predict what might cause it. Some people on these sites are typical 'doomsday' preppers, some are just interested in the apocalypse porn and some are incredibly fragile and frightened people who are terrified that the world is going to end tomorrow.
Having said that, some of the posts are really good reads about the TEOTWAWKI (The End Of The World As We Know It) mindset and there are still level-headed people on there, just remember that these subs attract the crazies and you'll be fine. /r/collapse in particular is a mixed bag as there is a ton of great information on there about potential red-flags and I suspect that if the apocalypse were to happen quickly (spoiler: it won't), then you'll see it on /r/collapse before you get chance to see it out of your window and thanks to their strict rules, much of what is posted on there is level-headed and (probably) true (it's not a news site though, use your judgement with all posts), on the other hand, spend too much time reading /r/collapse and you'll be rocking back and forth, shotgun in hand in the bunker you just spent your live savings on convinced that the planet is going to implode any second now.
Facebook groups are a fantastic resource for preppers as it is a very different sort of community to Reddit.
Facebook is great for inspiration as you get a ton of 'show off' posts where people tell their stories and show off their achievements, plus you get a great 'back and forth' feel that you don't quite feel with Reddit.
Most prepper groups are groups you need to join so these links will not give you much more than a 'join' option, but they are well worth it if you don't mind a bit more time-line clutter.
Again though I must warn you, although you have to apply to join, most groups just accept everyone who applies so you'll get the occasional nutter on there, a good yardstick to measure a group by is how they deal with those nutters, if they welcome then in with open arms then run away screaming, if you find that the nutters leave fairly quickly after a few posts, you've probably found a good group.
Preppers UK again, this one is for my UK based brethren and is my favourite prepper group on facebook as it has a ton of level-headed people on it with lots of great show-off posts and advice to go around.
UK Bushcraft and Wild Camping Knowledge Another UK one and this has bugger all to do with prepping, you'll find it barely ever mentioned on the group and they won't really be interested in your end of the world theories but you will find lots of knife tips, camping tips and bushcraft tips which will help you to develop your skills.
Casual Preppers Any group that says you can't talk about guns in it's description is a good prepper group in my book, guns are of course an essential prepper item if you are in a gun-toting country but too many preppers get carried away with their guns and many of them are not really preppers at all, they are just gun or apocalypse nuts (usually both). These guys are a bunch of level-headed preppers who just want to share their advice and stories.
There are hundreds of Facebook prepper groups, these are just the three I recommend the most, if you search for 'preppers' in the facebook search bar and then click the 'groups' tab, you'll get a ton of them, you may even find one for your local area.
Man, oh man, without YouTube I'd be a moron with a crayon up his nose trying to work out how to spell the alphabet. I've been to school (not that I'm showing off or anything), college, university and done a ton of training courses in my years but I've never had a better teacher than YouTube.
Here's the thing, I never search for prepping in YouTube, because I want to learn skills and prepping YouTube channels just want to talk about prepping or fretting about the collapse. There is plenty of good knowledge under those channels (especially when I eventually get the guts to start my own) but personally, I want to learn how to increase my practical skills and for that, I am interested primarily in electronics, woodworking and bushcraft. Rather than share a ton links for those channels with you, I'm just going to share two bushcrafting ones and two off-grid living ones:
My wife isn't into prepping, or bushcraft and she's not even that big a fan of camping but she'll happily sit down and watch one of Reallybigmonkey1 (more commonly known as David Pearson) because he's incredibly sweet and has a really nice self-depricating charm about him. He starts each video with his trademark 'Hey everybody' in an adorable Georgian lint. This guy is a bushcraft supremo, he's not running a prepper channel here but he has elements of that in his videos(he has a few bug out bag videos for example) and you kind of get the impression that he's a bit of a prepper deep-down. He puts a ton of thought into his videos and you'll learn a lot from him.
This guy is a #lifegoals kind of guy for most bush crafters and preppers, not only does he build shelters, fire pits and countless tools for survival, he's the poster-child for skills not things as he does this with literally nothing but the clothes he is wearing (often just shorts and a t-shirt), all of his tools and materials are made with things he finds on the forest floor.
Also known as - oh wait, I think he's actually called himself that in real life too.
Anyway, this guy lives completely off the grid in the UK, which is something that feels like an impossible dream for most of us his channel isn't about prepping but the amount of skills this guy has is incredible. You'll learn how to find and aquire land that you can live on, how to build your buildings on it, the books he finds the most useful for his crafts, how to generate power and other resources and he even teaches blacksmithing! I honestly can't recommend this guy enough.
This is a family who moved to a homestead a few years ago without a clue how to do anything and with practically no money (in fact I think they were in debt!). They only have 1 acre but they managed to turn it into a self-sufficient, off-grid farm and they really are lving the dream. They don't put much focus on prepping but as you get to know them, you'll realise that prepping is a motivator for their lifestyle change. They are incredibly inspiring as it shows that anyone can live this lifestyle if they put their minds to it.
I'm actually not going to recommend any forums as I don't spend a huge amount of time on any of them as the above sites have me pretty much covered, however some forums exist for local prepping communities and having a local community is and invaluable resource so I strongly recommend doing a search to see if you can find one near you.