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10 Common Prepping Mistakes To Avoid

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With the abundance of bad info out there, it’s easy for new preppers to make a lot of mistakes. I’ve made many mistakes myself and I’m sure I’ll make more, but that’s part of the learning process. To help you speed up this process, here are some common prepping mistakes you’ll want to avoid:

1. Not having a survival library. Books are less common these days because we do so much reading on the Internet and Kindles. But if the power goes out, having a good collection of survival books could save your life. They’ll give you something to read when you’re bored, and will have important instructions on things like purifying water, building fires, and medical care. While you want to learn as much of this info as you can ahead of time, no one can know everything, and there are bound to be times when a survival library will come in handy. Check out the Books section and also read the article, Best Books on Survival.

2. Focusing on supplies instead of skills. Of course, just because you have all the best books on survival doesn’t mean you shouldn’t bother to learn survival skills. It’s possible your books will be destroyed or you won’t be able to get to them. The same rule applies to your survival food and gear. What if you’re at work when your home is destroyed by an explosion, earthquake or some other disastrous event? Would you still have the skills to survive, or are you completely dependent on your food and gear?

3. Not having enough water preps. I cannot overemphasize the importance of water. There are many survivalists who have six months of food and only two weeks of water on hand. Considering that you can survive without food about ten times as long as you can survive without water, you’d be better off with two weeks of food and six months of water. Don’t do that either, but at least make sure your water will last as long as your food. If you don’t have enough room for that much, there are many ways to collect and purify water.

4. Not having enough variety in food supplies. Too many new preppers buy nothing but rice, beans, flour, salt and sugar. If that’s all you have to eat after a disaster, you’re going to be miserable. Your body will have trouble adjusting to the new bare-bones diet and you’ll suffer from food fatigue, where your survival food won’t be appetizing even when you’re very hungry. Make sure you buy the ingredients for a variety of possible meals so you’ll feel satisfied every time you eat. This leads to my next point…

5. Not eating what you store. This was the first mistake I made when I started stocking up on food. I bought all kinds of food, sealed it up, put it in the closet, and forgot about it. Inevitably, some of my food went bad and I had to throw it out. It’s important you store what you eat and eat what you store and rotate your food. If you’re not sure how to cook meals from the basic ingredients, I’d recommend getting some cookbooks and a guide like Emergency Food Storage & Survival Handbook which has a lot of great recipes.

6. Not having enough vitamins. Personally, I think everyone should be taking multivitamins since most modern diets don’t provide the nutrition we need, but this will be even more important in a survival situation. The stress of having your life turned upside down, constant threats to you and your family, and manual labor will take a lot of energy and tax your immune system. Vitamins will help keep you strong and healthy, especially Vitamin C.

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7. Relying only on food storage. While the last few points have been about food, don’t forget all your other survival needs. When a lot of people think of prepping, the first things they think about are food and water and they proceed to stock up on them while neglecting health and beauty supplies, first aid kits, bug out bags, cooking implements, clothes, weapons and other important items. While food should be your first priority, don’t forget your other priorities.

8. Relying only on an arsenal. At the other end the spectrum, there are some preppers who focus all their attention on guns and ammo. The reasoning is that not only will they be able to protect themselves, they’ll be able to hunt their food and trade ammo for other supplies. This is unrealistic, especially if you’re in or near a city. The little bit of wildlife in your area will be picked clean by others, and most people won’t be interested in your ammo as they, like you, will be looking to trade for food and other vital supplies. Sure, have some weapons for self defense, but don’t go overboard.

9. Not taking care of pets. As much as we all love our pets, for some reason it’s easy to forget that they need preps, too. Animals require more than just food and water. Check the article, Pet Survival Kit.

10. Planning on bugging out. Although having a bug out bag and a vehicle survival kit is important, unless you have advance warning of a disaster it will be very difficult to get from your home to your bug out location. The streets will be congested, roads and entire areas could be inaccessible, and gas could become unavailable. That’s why I think it’s so important to be ready to shelter in place.

What to read next: 15 Food Storage Mistakes.

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  • http://preppingtosurvive.com PreppingToSurvive

    Great list of common mistakes. I think that I’ve made just about all of them at one point or another during my time as a prepper. Hopefully, with practice comes wisdom.

  • HunterAlpha1

    there are four basic types of preppers:
    Food Preppers focus almost completely on food.  they are usually Amish and other Plain sects and will mostly have only one or two guns and sparse ammunition, and aren’t versed in their usage in combat.  they will be well fed, until someone who is well armed comes along and takes what they have.
    Gun Preppers are at the other end of the extreme, putting all their faith in superior firepower, but when the fields and forests and streams are hunted and fished out they will be forced to revert to brigandry. 
    Balanced Preppers are just that; they have a good number of guns, tons of ammo, and tons of food supplies, and have received at least some tactical combat and tactics training.

    a sub-category of the Balanced Preppers are the Homesteaders.  they have everything the BPs have, but also a good sized piece of land and the ability to grow and produce their own food and reload ammo, thus making them almost completely independent. 

  • CPU

    Having a Hulda Clark Zapper on hand is important to cover for the absence of antibiotics.A book about this is at http://paradevices.com .

  • Rudy

    Is it just me or when the SHTF situation comes about the last thing I am worried about is whether Fido has his preps. I can’t afford dog food now let alone when the crap hits the fan. I love my animals but in a survival situation I think it is ridiculous to be feeding pets. An animal is an animal when it comes down to it.

  • http://paradevices.com/ ZapperDave

    Actually, having and keeping pets during difficult times can increase your chance of survival. Especially true for dogs, as they are extremely loyal to their best friend and very protective. Even a small dog biting the ankle of an attacker can make a difference.

    Otherwise, my wife and I consider our dogs and cats to be friends and family. So, you can be as self centered as you wish, but I hope that others, including our pets survive as well.

  • Jeremiah Thompson

    an animal that will save your life. dogs have an incredibly keen sense of smell and hearing, and will often give you advanced warning of any kind of danger, be it weather or bad guys. if they can get close enough even a medium sized dog can kill an intruder.

    and if you get really, REALLY hungry…

  • Don Payson

    I agree with the answers, keeping a dog is the best kind of deterrent for people with questionable intentions, as well as a great intrusion alarm, and, if properly trained, the best hunting partner

  • anonofmass

    staying in 1 place is the biggest mistake. Unless you have a fort with 20 foot high walls thats 5 foot thick and made of steel you face so many threats that survival no matter how much food or weapons you have is impossible. travel as stealthy as possible, carry only what you need, find shelter that is safe and secure enough for 1 night and keep moving. Just like the walking dead if you stop… your zombie chow. Trust no one except those that you’ve trusted before the world went to shit.

  • Dave

    mad max felt a dog was a good thing!

  • Jeremiah Thompson

    Pretty sure we’re talking about real life survival here, not the zombie apocalypse. You can only keep moving for so long, and you need human contact to maintain your sanity, “It is not good for man to be alone”.

    As for defense, with adequate preparations you can easily survive, and without a 20×5 ft. steel wall(though it certainly wouldn’t hurt!) Your best chances of survival is working with the community, having each home well fortified and as self sufficient as possible and ready to come to each other’s aid, with constant roving reconnaissance patrols.

  • late2theparty

    I disagree. Unless you live every day with this kind of existence, you are safer like Jeremiah says, with community and a well defended AO will be much safer than out in the woods where you have no supplies {I can only carry a couple of days worth of water…}, no shelter, and you are in someone else’s backyard. Bad news in my opinion.

    As to WD, you’ll notice they are really safest when they find good shelters. It’s only the people that they don’t deal with that are the problems. When they were alone in the prison after clearing the walkers out, it wasn’t staying in one place that was the problem. It was not having a plan, not having constant guards, not having deterrents (punji…*). They were dumb. A tank can’t go into the basement of the prison (and it had a HUGE basement) and unless you have heavy artillery, 40 people can hide out in a huge prison for a long time. They got complacent and stupid. Let the attackers come into your area, skirmish, run to another section, do it again. Unless the attackers have numbers like 10 to 20+ times more people, ambushes and attrition would win the day.
    Even better if you really want to totally eliminate the attackers (not just repel), set defenses and defenders, then 2 groups slip out of hidden/back doors and flank the attackers from either side, moving around to the rear. You catch them in a crossfire/kill zone from 2 places behind and one in front. Had Rick done this, he controlled the defense and sent Daryl and Glenn with support around and flanking the Governor’s people, they would still be in the prison.
    * Booby-traps and other things in the fields plus portable rigs ready to put into use in doorways if attacked. Reduce the numbers of attackers and slow the others down, then it’s easier to repel what’s left.

  • David Teer

    It depends on the situation. If there is some type of pandemic, then bunkering down and staying in a secured location is by far the best option. Going outside can expose to to whatever disease is there. If you are talking about a Katrina situation or where there is a complete breakdown in society. Then getting away from population centers is probably the best option.

  • John

    Then let someone else have your animals

  • John

    You go for it Rambo

  • John

    Actually with everyone thinking they will just head for the woods staying at home is probably your best bet. Fortify your home, stay in surroundings that you know.I love the idea of everyone else running off to the woods with their knapsack on their back.