Whether you are new to prepping or a seasoned prepper, you will always make mistakes. This guide will show you the most common mistakes and also how to avoid most of them. Your approach cannot always be perfect because you have a life. Time and resources can also limit your ability to prepare adequately.
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Your did not invest in yourself
It is important to realize that your supplies will not last forever and that you will make crucial decisions once the SHTF. Someone once told me that someone could take all of your physical goods but not your skills.
1. You are not sustainable
Depending on the situation you will never know for how long you must survive on your own. The aftermath of a disaster can last for days or even years. The solution is to have a long-term plan to become sustainable.
Your reserves will only last that long, and it is important to know how to reproduce them over again. We are talking about food, meds, and water. You need to work on how to grow gardens, fishing, hunting and foraging just like our ancestors did.
I have written an in-depth guide on how to survive and some pointers related to this topic
2. You become lazy and overconfident
It is often said that laziness comes after comfort. We as human beings yearn for our creature comfort and will do anything to have it. Once you have it, you become lazy. When was the last time you bought a survival book or have taken stock on your supplies?
When was your last bug out practice drill and did you inspect the expiry dates on all of your reserves? Did you test your gear to see if it still works?
3. You are not practicing your drills
What use is your gear if you do not know how to use them? The drills that I am talking about can include shooting and handling your weapon, bugging out, camping, practicing how to light a fire without matches and reading a map.
If you have a set bug out location, you can try to reach this location without the use of a map. In the long run, the experience will be your best friend and the only way to get it is by practicing your drills.
Having bad health is something that you cannot ignore. If you are a survival situation, you will be put under immense stress, and ill health will make it worse.
4. Not taking care of your medical issues
If you have any medical issues that need attention such as bad joints or hypertension, then you should address them as early as possible. If it is something that you can resolve, then you should do it.
Some medical conditions can get worse if not treated early on and this advice is not only valid for prepping but in normal circumstances as well. Some of these conditions will be impossible to manage once a natural disaster has happened.
5. Lack of vitamins minerals
Proper nutrition is also essential to stay healthy. Most of the food that you will store for prepping purposes will only be dense in carbohydrates such as sugars and starch which will only provide energy. Most of the times these foods will lack the necessary vitamins and minerals which will support health.
Supplying your stash with a multivitamin complex supplement is imperative. Vitamin C, Vitamin D, B complex and also minerals such as Mg, Zn and Ca are essential.
6. You are not in shape
Most of us live a sedentary lifestyle which revolves around sitting on your couch the whole day watching TV series or sports. Our human bodies are not made for this lifestyle and do require exercise to stay on top of your game.
Being unfit will not help you when disaster strikes and can be resolved by going to the gym or at least walking 3 miles a day at a steady pace. If you are too busy, then I would recommend this four-minute daily workout routine which revolves around cardio.
7. Not stockpiling your chronic meds
If you already have a chronic disease and this disease is dependent on meds that you have to take daily, then I would recommend having at least a couple of months supply. Conditions such as diabetes or Hashimotos are an example of diseases that cannot go without their meds.
8. Forgetting about sanitation and hygiene
We are being attacked by disease-causing bugs every single day, and the last thing you need is a lung, throat or sinus infection. One way to avoid this is by washing your hands each time before eating. As preppers, we generally focus most of our time on ammunition and food but forget about smaller things such as sanitation.
You can stockpile hand washing lotions, soap, shampoo, toilet paper and also toothpaste. Please do not forget about female hygiene products as this can lead to a disaster if none is present.
Food and water-related issues
Food and water should be your primary focus for when prepping your supplies. You can go for a couple of days without food but not water. This section will cover all of the mistakes that you can make.
9. You did not test the food
I know of a lot of people that have developed food allergies these last couple of year. Sometimes people will develop skin rashes, upset stomachs and also neurological symptoms. This is the reason why you and your family should test the food first by eating it once a day to monitor any signs.
If you develop any symptoms by ingesting a specific type of food, then you might not want to spend a ton of money on stockpiling that food. The most common types of food are you might be allergic too might be all the types of nuts and gluten products such as wheat, oats, barley, and rye. Who knows, maybe you or one of your loved ones cannot even tolerate the taste of the food.
10. Food not preserved correctly
There are a lot of methods on how to preserve food such as making jerky from meat and canning vegetables such as beetroot, gherkins, carrots, celery, onions, beans and many more. You can also preserve fruit such as peaches and pear this way.
There is also a lot of mistakes that can be made in the process. These mistakes include using canning lids where the rubber seal is worn out, storing the food in warm temperature, not using enough salt for the jerky.
11. Not having enough water
Having enough water supply will be the number one most important aspect of prepping. There will also be cases where you will not have access to public sources of water, and you will have to rely on your sources. Public sources can also turn into dangerous areas where a lot of people will be desperate for this precious resource.
The best thing that you can do to prepare is to know how much water you need per person per day. On average an adult needs at least 2 liters of drinkable water per day. If you have a family of four people, then you need at least 8 liters of water per day or 240 liters per month. Make sure you have at least three months worth supply which will be equal to 180 liters per person for 90 days.
12. Your water is not purified
What will you do once your water reserves run out? The best thing to do is to head over to a river, dam or lake to find water. The only problem is that this water is not yet drinkable. Water will be useless for drinking purposes if it is full of bacteria and viruses that can cause disease.
The best way to purify water is by boiling it. You can also use purification tablets, water filters, and drinking straws. Make sure that you have stockpiled enough of these items.
13. Not taking stock of food (Reaching expiry dates)
The only two reasons why you would want to take stock of your food supply is because you want to know how much you have available and also to rotate the food with fresher supplies for when it has reached its expiry date.
You can do this on a monthly basis and also record all of the data on a sheet for stocktaking purposes. Now you will know exactly how much food you have by taking the guesswork out of the equation.
14. Not diversifying your food
Have you ever tried to eat the same type of food day in and day out? After a couple of days, you will become a miserable person. This is why you need to diversify the food that you are storing. It is also important to remember that you will get a larger variety of vitamins and minerals from your diet if it is diversified.
About our gear
After food which is your priority, the gear that you will use is also essential. The equipment used for prepping can consist of an extensive range of equipment. Let’s start with the first section.
15. Buying gear they don’t need
Most of the times when people are unprepared, they will go for a shopping spree blowing hundreds if not thousands of dollars on gear. After a while, they will realize that they only need half of the equipment that they bought.
Before buying any gear, I would recommend learning more on prepping and then making a list of the essentials first. You should also not buy the most expensive version of a product and start with the less costly options.
16. Not having an Every day Carry (EDC)
These kits consist of handy gear that might save your life. There will be cases where you will not have the ability to go to your house once disaster strikes and you then need to rely on an EDC kit increase the odds of survival.
These kits contain many useful tools such as knives, can openers, wirecutter, compass, screwdriver, saw blade, medical kits, emergency blankets, flashlights and fishing gear, etc. If the bag is small enough, you can carry one with you or keep it in the car for a spare.
17. You did not test your equipment
You can have the best and most expensive piece of equipment, but if you do not know how to use it, then it will be useless. In some cases, you will need additional hardware to make use of the tool that you have bought. The only way to be prepared is to test the device first.
For instance, you need to know how water filters work. Ask yourself questions such as: “how many pipes do I need or do I need additional tools to install the filter?”.
Another thing that can bite you from behind is if the tool is not working at all. Now, what do you do? It is too late to return the device for a refund, and it also gave you a false sense of security.
18. Your items are not waterproof
You will never know if you will face a storm or tsunami where all of your gear and useful items such as documents, cash, and toilet paper will get wet. You can also throw your batteries and matches away if they get wet.
You can do this by placing all of your items in a bug out binder which is a waterproof folder that will keep the items inside dry. You can also pack some of your clothes in these binders if they are large enough to prevent them from getting moldy.
19. Not having cash
There might be situations where money can help. The problem is that (depending on the severity of the disaster) in some cases banks or ATM will be out of order.
Sometimes you might be in luck and find a vending machine somewhere below a subway that needs money to buy some of the supplies such as food. You never know.
Safety and conflict
So many people focus on food, water, and their gear that they forget about the safety aspects of prepping. Remember that desperate people will do anything to take your resources and it is your responsibility and fundamental human right to defend your resources.
20. You don’t know how to defend yourself
The most common and effective way to defend yourself is with the help of firearms. It is also important to know how to use your gun in case of an emergency. I have written this guide on how to safely handle a firearm which might prove to be useful.
You can also start with self-defense classes and how to defend yourself using knives and other tools if means necessary. One way that I like to use is with pepper spray. Once you spray this into an attacker’s eyes, they will become useless, and you did not cause any permanent damage to the person.
21. Not diversifying your weapons
We all like to use firearms, but it is important to realize that ammo will not last forever. This is where you need to be creative and learn how to turn any object into a potential weapon. Governments can also seize all of your guns before disaster strikes.
You can use anything from a pen to your car keys as a dangerous weapon. Some tactical flashlights can also be used as a weapon. It is also essential to learn how to use these weapons. An important self-defense style that I like is called Krav Maga.
22. Your home is not secure
If you are planning to stay in your home after disaster strikes, then you need to turn it into a base. In most cases, I will recommend to people to get out of the cities, but sometimes roads will be blocked which forces you to stay put in your home.
You can start by installing deadbolts and burglar bars in your home. An alarm system is also efficient at warning you against intruders.
23. You are too close to people
If you are living in a large city, then I would recommend you get out ASAP. Remember that you only have a day or two to get out because once all of the shops and grocery stores are raided, your home is next.
In case of a natural disaster or war, people will think that the laws which the government has listed are not viable anymore. This will result in high crime and chaos. You can start by locating a bug out area out of the city. Whether it is on a friends farm or out in the woods. Any place is safe except for in the town which is densely populated.
24. Arguing over survival
This part is especially true if your family are not preppers. You need to convince them to follow you to stay alive. In case of such situations, you should not tolerate disrespectful children because it can lead to great danger.
In order to avoid this type of arguing, you need to train your family on prepping and take them on board.
25. You are not keeping your prepping private (OPSEC)
I do not see the problem of sharing ideas with other like-minded preppers but do not become too trusting on your average Joe. People might seem like a decent friend a.t.m. but once they get hungry or desperate, their morality jumps out of the window.
What is the worst thing that can happen? If you told them about your supplies, guess who’s house will they break in first when all of the grocery stores run dry?
You should also try to make your outdoor equipment less visible such as your generator or solar panels. You can read this guide on OPSEC to learn more.
26. Trying to save the world
What would the world be if everyone decided to become cold hearted and not help other people in desperate need? We all want to help other people because I believe that what we do today to a person will eventually happen to us in the end.
It is essential to keep in mind that we cannot save everyone. Remember that while everyone were lazy, you were the only one in your neighborhood that worked hard at prepping. Sometimes when you give a person one finger, they will take the whole hand if not your entire arm.
To make this section softer on your morality and heart, remember this rule of thumb. Provide for you and your family first and then try to help other people if you can.
Preparation is key
I think it is fair to say that prepping without preparation gives prepping no value. It is also important to note that it is never too late for prepping while you have access to resources that you can accumulate.
27. You are not aware of potential disasters
Let me give you an example. If you live in an area where it is known to have tornadoes, then maybe you should build a sturdy bunker below your house. If you live in a country that is on the brink of a war, then you should prepare accordingly.
The same can be applied for earthquakes, floods, tsunamis or even wildfires. Know the area of where you live and then evaluate the risks involved in that area.
28. Preparing your family
If prepping is important to you and you want to do it effectively, then you need to take your family on board. It will be tough to do this all on your own. You will also not have the time to educate your family when disaster strikes which is a waste of precious seconds.
If your family is lazy, then the first thing that you can do is to create a protocol and then revise it with them each month. It might take you 60 minutes but is well worth it. This protocol should involve a step-by-step process of what to do when the SHTF. It is also best to give each member a role and start with the basics.
29. Having all of your supplies in one place.
It is an awful practice for preppers to store all of their supplies in one location. It is critical to distribute your supplies across multiples areas such as more than one room in your house, your bug out bag, your car, your bugout location, etc.
You should also try to distribute different types of food or supplies over several crates or containers. The reason for this is that there might be a chance that you might not be able to transport all of your containers.
30. Not preparing for your pets
If you ever thought that you have the heart to leave your pooch behind in the time of a crisis then think again. You should always prepare for your pet as you would prepare for yourself.
Except for water and dog food, you should also have an extra lease, some anti-flea shampoo, toys, and vitamins. Canned food is also a good option for most pets such as dogs and cats.
31. Not Prepping Your Car
If you plan to get out of the city to reach your bug out location, then it is vital to prepare your car as well. You can start by making sure your vehicle is serviced and that you have a small box that contains some oil, air and oil filters.
Make sure your spare wheel is still functioning and that you have an extra 20 liter of gasoline in the boot. You can also add jumper cables and a tire repair kit. It should also not stop there as you can add first aid kits, EDC kits and more.
32. Not having an escape route
The worst thing that you can do is to take the main roads or the highway as they will be the busiest. Try taking back alleys and streets that are not commonly used.
You can start by taking a city map and then work out at least five different routes on how to get to your destination. You can also make the use of a GPS and save all of the routes in its library.
33. Not having a bugout location
A bug out location is a location set outside a major city that will be safe from the general population. You can choose a place somewhere in the woods or out on a friends farm.
You can also choose locations that are near natural resources such as a river, or a forest where wood is available for fire and hunting. You can make use of an RV or even a tent if you do not have the resources for one.
If you want to, you can also hire a small piece of land outside the city and then transport a locked container to that location which will also have some resources.
34. Not having a backup plan
It is tough to predict the future, and so you should try to have more plans than one. For instance, you should look for the following:
- More than one place to stay.
- Planning more than one route.
- Having more than one weapon.
- Having water filters and firestarter kits.
- Storing food at different locations.
It is important to note that not everything will go according to plan and that you should always have a plan B to fall back on.
35. Not preparing for both winter and summer
Remember that it will not always be summer and that winter cannot be avoided. Make sure that you have enough warm clothes and jackets stored in your crates. Make sure that you have enough firewood for the winter.
36. You are not building a network
Sometimes, you do not have to go this route alone. There will be people out there that you can trust and that are will to exchange resources with you. Try building a network of at least three people that are also preppers and try to keep in touch with them once a while.
37. Don’t have reusable energy sources
If you plan to stay in your house or go to a different location, then you should try to have at least a generator or solar panels installed. This handy equipment will greatly help you as electricity supplied by your municipality will be the first to fall. Generators are not exactly renewable but can help you when the sun is not present to charge your panels.
There you have it. Hopefully, this guide has given you some pointers on what is important and also what to avoid doing. If you are not a seasoned prepper, then it is important to note that anyone can do this. It is almost never too late to start. Happy prepping.