We’re all human, and so naturally prepping mistakes are bound to happen. It’s part of life.
However, what we DO need to do is to learn from these mistakes – and fast. And if we can learn from other people’s blunders (without having to make the same ones ourselves) then we’re setting ourselves up for success.
We can learn a lot from the preppers and survivalists before us – particularly from what they did wrong.
Whether you’re brand new to prepping or have been in the survival field for a while, most everyone can learn from these…
Top Prepping Mistakes To Avoid (Part One)
Not Knowing The Basics
Whether you’re a first-timer or a seasoned prepper, it’s easy to get comfortable and forget the very basics of survival/prepping. Here’s a short, informative video on how NOT to prep (and what to do instead).
Not Testing Your Gear
Too many preppers purchase food, survival tools, shelter supplies and more from Amazon or other retail outlets. However, these often stay in the box/original packaging until the day the SHTF.
This is a huge problem for two reasons. For one, by the time an emergency hits you’re not going to have time to remove that gear from its packaging.
However, this is the least of your worries. The main reason to avoid this mistake is that not trying out your gear often means having defective equipment (and not even knowing it). Without testing out your preps beforehand you’re taking a major risk. After all, the stuff you bought might not work as well as advertised. It may break easily. Or you may just not know how to use it without the proper training.
Do yourself a favor and practice using everything you bought. And if you bought a few cans/bags of survival food, try one to make sure it’s actually of quality. Taking these steps now will set you up for success in an survival situation.
Spending Too Much $$$ Too Soon
We all want to prepare for an upcoming emergency. But too many of us panic and break the bank trying to buy everything at once. Obviously, this is a big problem considering you then don’t have the money for things you need in everyday life.
Rather, you’ll want to be smart about prepping. Do your research and wait for seasonal sales/discounts to pop up. Compare prices and shop for the lowest deal (while still remaining high-quality). And take the time to read product reviews. This can save you tons of time and frustration, since people before you have tried out these preps and can tell you if it’s worth it or not.
Not Staying Active
This is perhaps the #1 mistake Americans make when it comes to preparing for survival.
Too many preppers get too comfortable (and lazy). And this will harm them big-time when an emergency occurs.
After all, carrying a heavy bug-out bag, hunting/foraging for food, walking miles a day, setting up shelter, absorbing the shock, fear and stress… it can all take a massive toll on your body.
You don’t have to be a bodybuilder to be ready for a survival situation. Instead, take make small adjustments each day for better health – and these will add up. Choose a piece of fruit over dessert. Take the stairs rather than the elevator. Take a long walk after dinner rather than watching TV. Take breaks and stand up and move around the office/house.
As they say, “a body in motion tends to stay in motion. A body at rest tends to stay at rest.” The more you move (and the healthier your eating choices), the better your body will feel and the more it will want to continue this new routine.
Sticking With One Type Of Survival Food
Many preppers go into panic mode when stockpiling (or they just get lazy) and just buy tons of canned foods like soup, meat, fruit, veggies, etc. However, this is no bueno. After all, canned foods are usually chock-full of sodium, and don’t contain all the nutrients your body needs to work efficiently.
Mix up your food stockpile with freeze-dried options, dry goods (like rice and beans), powdered alternatives (like powdered milk), and naturally long-lasting food options (honey, peanut butter, etc).
Also, to get the nutrition you need, try to round out your stockpile by stocking up on the following food categories:
- Grains, Nuts & Legumes
- Alcohol (go for distilled spirits like rum, whiskey and vodka)
And, if possible, stock up on healthy foods you actually enjoy eating. Sure, in a crisis any food is better than nothing. But if you’re eating things you actually enjoy, it’ll make the situation more bearable.
Not Having An Escape Plan
Many preppers get too comfortable and don’t remember that emergencies are often incredibly random and unpredictable. And because of this, too many preppers stockpile their supplies, gear, etc. at home, and don’t store preps anywhere else (like at the office, in their car, etc).
Not to mention, too many preppers don’t have proper escape plans when the SHTF. For instance, having multiple escape routes out of the home, numerous routes getting out of town, etc.
In an emergency, your routine will likely be shaken up and normal escape routes (like doors and highways) may be blocked off. Plan alternative routes, and alert your loved ones of these so that they know the plan. Set up a common meeting place everyone can go to in the event of a disaster, and do practice runs to work out the kinks.
Also, understand the realities of various disaster situations (EMPs, active shooters, natural disasters, home invaders, etc). Stock up on what you need, and figure out a plan with your family on how to survive each type of event.
And, in the meantime, stock a few go-bags in your home, office, car, etc. to always be prepared. And don’t forget to have a separate emergency auto-repair kit.
Forgetting About The Pets
It’s easy to stockpile for yourself and your family, and to completely forget about the furry friends in your life. But this is going to come back and haunt you when you realize you didn’t set aside food, water, shelter, and medicines for your dog or cat.
Which brings you to a crucial decision… in the event of an emergency, do you bring the pet or leave them behind? This can be a tough one. But in the end you have to consider the amount of resources you have, the space/weight the pet’s resources will take up, and their usefulness in a survival situation.
You can train a dog, but few preppers understand the intensive training/exposure to various scenarios this can often take to do effectively.
Consider the long-term versus short-term gains, and then plan accordingly.
Forgetting Those With Additional Needs
Yes, we need to prep for ourselves. But we also need to plan on helping the sick, elderly and disabled when the SHTF. This includes helping them with medication and oxygen, assisting with wheelchairs/walkers, etc.
Think about people in your life that may be affected by sickness, disabilities, and other mental/physical limitations. Then plan accordingly. A little extra preparation can go a long way in this area.
Not Rotating The Stockpile
Every food has a shelf-life. And if you neglect this bit of information you’ll wind up with a garage/storage space of moldy, chunky and otherwise disgusting food.
Follow the First In, First Out (FIFO) method when rotating your food stores. Use/eat food that expires soon first, and keep those items at the front within reach. When you buy new food, place these items at the back. Then continue this process so you never have to worry about food waste/sickness.
Not Remembering What You Bought
When stockpiling for an emergency, it can be easy to forget what you already bought (and how many of each item). This can lead to accidentally buying duplicates, or neglecting an entire area completely.
To avoid this, keep a running inventory sheet of all the medicine, food, survival tools, etc. you’ve bought (including type, color, quantity, brand, etc). This way, all that info is in one place, and you have a handy resource to look back at when making purchasing decisions.
Not Rotating Medications
Food stockpiles aren’t the only things that need rotating. Medications expire too – something many people don’t consider until it’s too late. Follow the FIFO method for meds (as well as food) and plan accordingly.
It’s also a great idea to put a few days’ worth of meds in your vehicle, purse/backpack, medical kit, and more. This can help you stay prepared in any situation. (Just make sure to rotate these, too).
Only Knowing One Way To Start A Fire
Firestarting is a crucial survival skill for most emergency scenarios. However, simply having a lighter is not enough. It’s important to be able to execute multiple firestarting methods to give you the best chance at survival. After all, you may accidentally leave that lighter at home – or it might break when you need it most.
Remember, this doesn’t have to be rocket science. Cotton balls in vaseline burn for a long time, and weatherproof matches are great in nearly any condition.
This is only Part One of a Two-Part series on this topic. Heed this advice, and wait for the second article coming out later this week!
Got a few prepping mistakes in mind that we missed? Leave them in the comments below.