6 Common Prepping Mistakes You Should Avoid

In our ever-evolving world, it seems that each passing day brings an influx of individuals seeking solace within the embrace of preparedness. They flock towards the notion, so to speak, driven by the mounting uncertainties that loom over our existence. It comes as no surprise that people are yearning to equip themselves with the necessary skills and knowledge to effectively weather emergencies and navigate through crises, be they colossal or minuscule in scale.

However, akin to the multifaceted facets of life, there exists not just a right way but an infinite multitude of wrong ways to embark upon this noble pursuit. Let us now embark on a profound exploration, an in-depth analysis of the most common prepping mistakes that befall enthusiasts on their preparedness journey. By shedding light on these blunders, we aim to illuminate the path towards a more effective and fruitful preparedness endeavor.

Failing to make a plan

One of the most critical mistakes that individuals often make when venturing into the realm of preparedness is the failure to create a comprehensive plan. In the rush to accumulate supplies and gather resources, the significance of developing a well-thought-out roadmap is often overlooked.

A lack of a solid plan leaves individuals vulnerable and ill-prepared to handle emergencies and crises effectively. Without a clear direction and a strategic approach, their efforts may become fragmented and disorganized, resulting in wasted time, resources, and potentially dire consequences.

A comprehensive preparedness plan serves as a guiding beacon, illuminating the path forward and ensuring that all essential aspects are taken into account. It entails a thorough assessment of potential risks and hazards, considering both the broad spectrum of emergencies and the specific circumstances unique to an individual or community. By identifying these potential threats, one can tailor their preparedness efforts accordingly, focusing on the areas that require attention the most.

Moreover, a well-crafted plan takes into consideration various factors, such as geographic location, local infrastructure, and personal circumstances. It outlines specific objectives and milestones, providing a sense of direction and purpose. Whether it’s creating an emergency communication plan for family members, establishing designated meeting points, or outlining evacuation routes, each element contributes to a more robust and resilient preparedness strategy.

A comprehensive plan includes a realistic assessment of available resources, both material and human. It helps individuals prioritize their needs, ensuring that essential supplies and equipment are obtained and maintained. This proactive approach minimizes the risk of shortages during times of crisis and enhances overall preparedness.

A well-crafted plan also accounts for the importance of ongoing education and skill development. It recognizes that preparedness is not solely about stockpiling supplies but also about acquiring the necessary knowledge and capabilities to effectively utilize them. It encourages individuals to invest time in learning essential skills such as first aid, basic survival techniques, and self-defense. By honing these abilities, individuals become more self-reliant and capable of handling various emergencies that may arise.

Neglecting Gear Testing

neglecting gear testing

In my frequent online interactions within prepper forums and social media groups, a recurring sight catches my attention—the display of brand-new, untouched gear in photographs proudly shared by individuals. These items, carefully assembled into bugout bags and survival kits, often remain in their pristine, original packaging.

Curious about this phenomenon, conversations reveal a common thread: these individuals have relied solely on online or book lists for their gear selection and have never actually used any of it.

Various reasons are given to justify this approach. Some fear depleting their emergency supplies before a crisis strikes, while others worry about damaging or breaking their gear without the means to replace it due to budget constraints. However, it is crucial to recognize that the worst time to discover flaws or issues with purchased products is in the midst of an actual emergency.

Imagine the frustration of realizing that a vital item requires assembly, but essential parts are missing. Alternatively, envision the discomfort of relying on survival food only to realize that it disagrees with your digestive system.

To mitigate such risks, it is essential to subject your gear to testing under controlled conditions, rather than leaving its reliability to chance. Take the opportunity to simulate real-world scenarios, such as conducting backyard trials or test runs. This allows you the luxury of experiencing any potential failures while still having the ability to rectify the situation.

Whether that entails purchasing replacements or reaching out to the manufacturer, you can address any issues before they become critical during a crisis. Familiarize yourself with the functionality and limitations of each item in your emergency arsenal, ensuring you are well-versed in their proper usage through dedicated practice well ahead of any actual disaster.

Remember, preparation involves not just the acquisition of gear but also understanding its effectiveness and suitability for your needs. Embrace the proactive approach of testing your gear, enabling you to identify and resolve any shortcomings or surprises in a controlled environment. By doing so, you will be well-prepared, equipped with the knowledge and experience to handle emergencies with confidence, rather than learning the hard way amidst chaos.

Impulsive Purchases Without Research

In the vast realm of online information, a simple search will inundate you with countless lists recommending equipment and supplies for the prudent prepper to have on hand during emergencies. While these resources are valuable, it is essential to recognize that there are no one-size-fits-all solutions. What may work for one person may not be the wisest choice for another, and vice versa. Consequently, conducting thorough research becomes a crucial step in your preparedness journey.

Reading reviews should be an integral part of your research process. It is advisable to explore both positive and negative feedback to gain a comprehensive understanding of a product’s performance. However, don’t stop there. Seek out video reviews that allow you to witness the product in action. Pay close attention to any reported failures or issues highlighted by the reviewers. It’s worth noting that complaints or grievances may not necessarily indicate that the product is inherently flawed. Sometimes, these concerns arise due to a lack of understanding about the product’s intended purpose. It is crucial to make your own informed decision based on the knowledge you acquire.

Furthermore, it is vital to give careful consideration to your unique situation and circumstances. Factors such as family composition, location, experience level, and budget should weigh heavily in your research. Evaluating whether a specific piece of equipment is truly necessary or beneficial to your specific needs is an integral part of the process. By doing so, you can avoid squandering your limited resources on unnecessary items that don’t align with your requirements.

In essence, succumbing to impulsive purchases without conducting proper research can be detrimental to your preparedness efforts. Instead, dedicate the time and effort to explore reviews, seek video demonstrations, and thoroughly understand the compatibility of products with your unique situation. By making informed decisions based on comprehensive research, you ensure that your investments align with your needs and contribute effectively to your preparedness endeavors.


Excessive spending trying to fix a problem

In the pursuit of preparedness, it is all too common for individuals to fall into the trap of simply throwing money at the problem. With the decision to be ready for any circumstance, many resort to swiping their credit cards, accumulating vast amounts of food, water, and supplies.

However, it is crucial to recognize that true preparedness cannot be achieved through monetary transactions alone. It requires a harmonious balance between resources and skills, with the latter being just as indispensable as the former. Merely purchasing a multitude of items without the knowledge of their proper utilization ultimately falls short of providing long-term preparedness.

Consider this: even the finest survival knife on the market would be of little assistance if one lacks the expertise to handle and maintain it effectively. Knowing how to sharpen it when it begins to dull or understanding proper knife techniques becomes paramount. Similarly, an impressive backpack designed for one person may transform into a burdensome nightmare for another if they are unaware of how to properly adjust and fit it to their unique physique.

Furthermore, it is crucial to acknowledge that price does not always equate to quality. While it is true that higher-priced items often reflect superior craftsmanship, there are numerous budget-friendly alternatives that offer commendable performance.

Conversely, certain high-end products may disappointingly fall short of their hefty price tags. Therefore, blindly emptying your wallet on the store counter is not the solution. The investment of time and energy is equally imperative.

Remember the age-old adage: slow and steady wins the race. True preparedness necessitates a comprehensive approach that extends beyond financial transactions. It demands dedication to acquiring essential skills, honing existing knowledge, and investing time in practice. By combining practical experience with prudent purchases, you can achieve a well-rounded preparedness strategy that empowers you for any future challenges.

You should resist the allure of excessive spending and recognize that preparedness encompasses more than material possessions. Embrace the notion that true readiness lies in the fusion of resources and skills, with both playing integral roles in your journey. Let thoughtful purchases, coupled with the dedication to acquire knowledge and expertise, guide you towards a comprehensive and resilient preparedness stance.

The Pitfall of Imbalance

the pitfall of imbalance

In the realm of preparedness, it is evident that approximately 90 percent of our efforts are directed towards universal necessities. The fundamental requirements of survival—food, water, shelter, security—remain constant regardless of the type of disaster we may face. Be it a severe winter storm or an economic collapse, the need for sustenance remains undeniable. However, it is the remaining 10 percent of preparations that demand careful consideration, as they cater to specific scenarios and contingencies.

While it is true that preparedness requires financial investment, it is essential to maintain a sense of balance and avoid plunging into overwhelming debt. Take, for instance, the task of designing and constructing a Faraday cage to safeguard sensitive electronics in the event of an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) occurrence. While it may be a valid concern, allocating the majority of your available resources to address this 10 percent risk could potentially lead to unforeseen challenges.

A well-rounded plan demands equilibrium, with priorities grounded in logic. It becomes problematic if you have assembled an impressive arsenal that rivals that of a Third World country, yet your food supply can barely sustain your family for a week. Similarly, if you possess enough medical supplies to outfit an emergency room in a mid-size hospital but lack the means to store and filter water, it might be prudent to reassess your preparedness strategy.

Furthermore, balance extends beyond the realm of disaster preparedness and infiltrates your overall household budget. It defies reason to create a personal financial disaster by allocating excessive funds to contingencies that may never transpire. Undoubtedly, preparedness requires financial resources, but neglecting essential obligations such as mortgage or rent payments, utility bills, or other debts in favor of an uncertain future is a misguided approach. The prospect of late fees and accumulating interest should not be the foundation upon which your preparedness rests.

Finding balance in preparedness is paramount. While dedicating the majority of your efforts to universal necessities, it is crucial to allocate resources sensibly to address the specific risks and contingencies that concern you. Strive for equilibrium between essential priorities, financial stability, and your preparedness aspirations. By maintaining a holistic approach, you can forge a path that prepares you for potential challenges without compromising your present well-being.

The Perils of Unrealistic Expectations

Within the realm of preparedness, it is essential not only to test your gear but also to test yourself and gauge your actual capabilities. A common example arises when preppers and survivalists plan to evacuate on foot in the event of a major crisis.

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However, if completing a simple trip to the mailbox and back leaves you breathless and in need of rest, embarking on a hike of several miles or more is unlikely to yield favorable results. While there may have been a time when you could effortlessly carry a hefty load over long distances, the reality of aging and changing physical conditions cannot be ignored.

This aspect extends beyond physical conditioning, although it undoubtedly plays a significant role. It encompasses various skill sets such as first aid, navigation, and the identification of edible wild plants. While reading books and magazines on these topics is commendable and encouraged, true learning necessitates getting your hands dirty.

For instance, gardening involves more than simply sowing seeds and sporadically watering them. Without practical experience and the opportunity to learn from mistakes, it becomes unrealistic to expect reliable yields of bountiful produce.

Examine each facet of your emergency plans and scrutinize their realism. It is vital to continually enhance your skills and improve your physical abilities. However, it is equally crucial to acknowledge and consider any current limitations you may have in these areas. By embracing a realistic approach, you can ensure that your plans align with your actual capabilities and account for any potential hurdles you may face.

Unrealistic expectations can hinder your preparedness efforts. Strive for realism by assessing your abilities, both physical and skill-related, and incorporating them into your plans. Embrace continuous improvement while remaining cognizant of your current limitations.

By embracing a practical mindset and acknowledging the importance of matching plans with capabilities, you forge a path towards preparedness that is grounded in reality and better equipped to handle future challenges.


The journey of preparedness is multifaceted and requires careful consideration of various factors. We have explored common mistakes, such as failing to make a plan, buying without research, throwing money at the problem, and lacking balance. Each of these pitfalls highlights the importance of approaching preparedness with thoughtfulness and a balanced perspective.

It is crucial to recognize that preparedness is not a one-size-fits-all endeavor. While there are universal necessities like food, water, and shelter, the specific needs and circumstances of individuals may vary. Research, planning, and testing are integral components of a well-rounded approach.

This article was submitted by Daniel R. Vaniche

Recommended resources for preppers and homesteaders:

The Hidden Poisons in Your Pantry

How to build an underground cellar for less than $400

10 Best MREs for Emergency and Survival Scenarios

Survival Food Recipes that stood the test of time

1 thought on “6 Common Prepping Mistakes You Should Avoid”

  1. if you wan’t to test your gear and prepare for a true grid down, SHTF situation,- go outside-do some primitive camping.
    it’s fun guys. it’s peaceful, and a good learning experience.
    sleep in a tent, catch some fish and learn to cook over a fire. the wife and i have done it for 35 yrs and we absolutely love it.


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