There are always difficulties to be encountered and dealt with when it comes to prepping. While some problems can be overcome rather easily, there are some that can prove deceptive and can lead to disaster. Many of these problems do not stand out at first and they occur when is too late to do something about it while others develop right under your nose. There are 6 deadly mistakes that can happen to anyone and it’s better to be aware of them, rather than facing them.
For every prepper there are 3 major steps when it comes to preparedness, gathering supplies (food, weapons and ammunition, tools, etc), gathering knowledge about how to survive in various conditions and environments and last but not least gathering “Intel” about their community in order to see who is trustworthy (family and friends) as you can’t be really sure of people when disaster strikes.
These problems can arise at any time, but they mostly happen when you lose vigilance and you are far too sure, you are doing things right.
The first mistake a prepper can make is mishandling food.
Mishandling food has many aspects and if one is overlooked, it can affect the integrity of your food stock. Without food and water, we have very few chances of survival and we will have to rely on what we know in order to survive, or even worse, we have to rely on the other members of our community, but food sharing in a time of crisis is a miracle and you shouldn’t count on it.
Imagine you are facing a disaster and you discover your food, is rotten, infected by pests and inedible overall. This is not as crazy as it sounds and it happens to most of us, because we became somehow conformable and we think we got it all covered. No matter how good you think you’ve organized your pantry, there are some things you always have to do. Things such as keeping your pantry clean, having a food rotation system, having a buddy system (you and another member of your family) for checking the pantry and the expiration date of your foods.
Another aspect of mishandling food is simply not buying enough of it. Fighting for food with your loved ones, is not the ideal scenario. This is why you need to know how much food intake, they have on a given day. Once you know this crucial aspect, you need to determine how much food has to be gathered (purchased, produced, etc.) and stored based on the length of time you feel comfortable about. And last but not least, always plan a little more if you have kids, we know that most youngsters will not suffice with what you give them and will always want more.
Here is the formula I use: (Pantry Food Storage)= (daily intake)+5%*(comfortable survival time length)
Storing the improper food is another aspect that is not considered and some preppers are leaning towards keeping “comfort food items”, I guess it’s linked to our way of life and being used to having everything we want. However, every serious prepper knows that we should focus primarily on dry goods and canned foods. Here are some tips on what your pantry should contain.
The second mistake is not having long term plans.
Storing supplies is a good thing to do, as it will keep you prepared for any emergency. What will happen when the food and other supplies run out? One thing is sure, you will have to rely on your plan B. If you don’t have one, you’re pretty much done for it and you will depend on the others and mostly on luck. They both run out after a time.
What you need to do first, is to have a good map of the surroundings and establish a route in case you have to bug out. Once you know the area you have to set rally points of where to meet with the ones included in your plans. The second thing you need to do is to develop the skills for gathering/making your own food and water. Before developing these skills you need to gather the knowledge and learn how stuff works (how to make a water filter, how to set traps, how to cook without electricity and so on). The third step required for every long term plan is having a defense strategy (either if you are bugging in or you decide to change location) since without it you will not be able to face the most deadly factor of all, other people. Building a defense strategy takes time and you have to cover everything from hiding your food to bulletproofing your home. And to close your long term plans, always be sure to stay up to date with the latest information from the prepping world. Learn as much as you can as you don’t know when that knowledge will come in handy.
The third mistake is not knowing your surroundings and neglecting their potential.
It all comes down to the area you live in and what you can get from it. Do you live in a cold or hot climate? What are the natural disasters that can strike? Is it a densely populated area? These are all questions of vital importance for every prepper as the location will play an important role in your survival. You have to be in advantage compared to the others and know how to survive and thrive in your environment. Here are just a few things you should know:
- Which are the edible plants from your area, the medicinal ones and especially the poisonous ones?
- Where can you find fresh water in your area, how fast can you go there and once you got there, is there any danger of someone claiming these sources for themselves?
- Which are the less populated areas and what goods can you scavenge from them?
- What type of terrain do you have, what can you grow on it?
- What type of gear do you need, depending on the seasonal changes in weather?
- What do you know about your neighbors, what can you loot for them (it may come to that eventually), are they friendly, do they pose a danger for you and your loved ones (the tables can turn and they will become the looters)?
- Are you located in a hazardous area, are there any points of interest located in your vicinity (supermarkets, utility stores, etc.) that can attract looters?
The fourth mistake is not having the right tools.
Many people out there think they can survive only with a good utility knife in their pocket. Maybe they are right, but for many of us, having the right tool at hand can save us a lot of trouble. Even when purchasing and storing tools we have to keep in mind a few rules, that don’t seem obvious enough at first:
- Leave the single use tools for the others and go for the multi-use tools. They will provide various uses and they are easy to carry, being a single item.
- Go for mechanical quality tools and avoid the ones that need electricity as it will not always be available.
- Take weight restriction into account as you might need to bug out. Get tools that are compact and lighter.
- If you opt for electrical tools, make sure you get the ones that are chargeable and that have an alternative method of charging (being able to plug them to a solar panel for example).
- Get the tools you need and the ones you know how to work with. Don’t stockpile on tools that you think you will need or tools that you don’t know how they work or how to maneuver them.
- Always have a solution available for charging your tools, go for a mobile one that can be used as an all-purpose generator (solar powers should do the trick).
- Don’t be cheap when it comes to buying tools, you get what you pay for. Don’t go for bulk “promotions” or for deals that are too good to be true.
The fifth mistake is prepping too much weaponry and ammunition.
Having a room full of weapons and ammunition will not do you good unless you have a disposable budget and you are forced to bug in. A scenario in which you have to defend your home for multiple armed looters or huge groups of people is less probable. If we have to stick to a minimum and we have a limited budget, we have to choose the essential. You need a good rifle that can be used for hunting and for home defense, a rifle with a good firing range for which the cost of ammunition won’t pose a problem. Besides the rifle you will need a good handgun, an everyday carry that can save you a lot of trouble. Most people already y have it so in theory, it should not affect your budget. And last but not least a reliable shotgun that packs a good punch and keeps home invaders at bay. A few boxes of ammunition for each and a good cleaning kit will suffice. There is no need to stockpile on ammunition like there is no tomorrow, since you can’t take it all with you and you will be forced to leave it behind for the competition (looters). You will be doing yourself a disservice if you spend all your money on guns and ammunition and neglecting food or items such as tools or knowledge. You can’t eat bullets when you starve and a gun can’t teach you how to plant tomatoes. However, if money is no issue, you can read this article about weapons recommended for preppers.
The sixth deadly mistake one can make is not to include friends and family in your plans.
Although the trend amongst preppers is to prepare only themselves and their close family members, we have to keep in mind that no man is an island. You should always include your family and friends in your plans as you never know when you and your group will benefit from their skills and knowledge. Maybe one of your friends is a doctor, a carpenter, a farmer or a former soldier and maybe their skills will suit you in a time of need. It is important to keep them prepared and up to date with your plans. You can teach them about your means of prepping, you can establish rally points together, you can attend to first aid classes together. Maybe one of them has a home that is outside of a metropolitan area, it will be the best place to stockpile food and your first choice when you need to evacuate. If they are preppers as well, you can share resources, know-how and most importantly, you can protect each other if you stand united. Even though trust is hard to get and it will be a rare commodity when SHTF you have better chances of survival if you surround yourself with trustworthy people. And I believe that after a few years of knowing a person you can have a good idea about either you let them know about your plans or you keep them away.
Stay Safe and God Bless!
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