Common Prepping Mistakes You Should Avoid

As the world becomes increasingly unpredictable, more and more individuals are turning to preparedness as a means of safeguarding themselves and their loved ones against emergencies and crises of all sizes.

The idea of being self-sufficient and ready for anything can be enticing, but it’s crucial to approach it with care and caution. Like any other venture, there’s a right way to prepare, and there are countless incorrect ways to do so. Unfortunately, several common prepping errors could jeopardize one’s safety and security rather than protecting it.

It’s vital to be aware of these mistakes and avoid them when preparing for emergencies. In this article, we will examine some of the most typical prepping mistakes and how to prevent them.

Buying stuff without research

When it comes to preparing for emergencies, there is no shortage of information available online. A quick search using your preferred search engine will yield thousands of lists recommending essential equipment and supplies.

While these lists can be a helpful starting point, it’s important to remember that there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. What works for one person may not be the best choice for someone else. That’s why it’s crucial to do your research and make informed decisions.

One way to gain insight into the quality and usefulness of a particular product is to read reviews. However, don’t just focus on positive feedback; be sure to read negative reviews as well. Additionally, seek out video reviews so that you can see the product in action.

Pay close attention to any issues or problems that the reviewer may have encountered. It’s worth noting that complaints don’t always indicate that the product is of poor quality. Sometimes, issues arise from a lack of understanding of what the product was designed to handle. Ultimately, you should make your own decision based on the information you gather.

Moreover, it’s important to consider your unique circumstances and situation. Take into account factors such as your family composition, location, experience level, and budget. Before purchasing any prepping gear or supplies, it’s critical to assess whether it’s necessary or at least useful to you.

Otherwise, you may end up wasting your limited budget on things that won’t be of much help in an emergency. Therefore, conducting thorough research that takes your individual needs into account is key to effective emergency preparedness.

Failing to test gear

failing to test gear

I’ve noticed a common trend among those who showcase their emergency gear. More often than not, the items are still in their original packaging, brand new and untouched. Upon speaking with these individuals, it’s typically revealed that they’ve assembled their gear based on online or book lists and have never actually used any of it.

While some may justify this by claiming they don’t want to waste anything or risk damaging the equipment, the truth is that the middle of a crisis is the worst time to discover that a product is missing parts or doesn’t work as intended. It’s far better to test and familiarize oneself with each item during controlled conditions, such as taking it for a test run in the backyard. That way, if something does fail, it can be addressed and fixed before it’s needed during an actual emergency.

Additionally, it’s crucial to understand the capabilities and limitations of each item in your emergency kit. Practice using them ahead of time so that you know how to use them properly and efficiently when it matters the most. Don’t rely solely on online lists or recommendations; take the time to research and learn about each item, its intended use, and how to maintain and operate it effectively.

In short, don’t let the fear of wasting or damaging emergency gear prevent you from using and testing it ahead of time. Knowing how to use each item and being aware of its limitations can make all the difference when it comes to being prepared for emergencies.

The inability to find balance for your preps

When it comes to prepping, there are some basic needs that are universal, such as food, water, shelter, and security. These items are necessary regardless of the type of disaster you may face.

However, there are also specific items that may only be necessary for certain types of disasters, such as a Faraday cage for EMP protection. While it’s important to have these specialized items, it’s also essential to maintain balance in your prepping plan.

If you spend 90 percent of your resources on the 10 percent that is disaster-specific, you may run into trouble. It’s important to have a balanced plan with logical priorities. If you have an extensive armory but barely enough food to last your family a week, you may need to rethink your plan. Similarly, if you have a stockpile of medical supplies but no way to filter or store water, it may be time to re-prioritize.

One critical aspect of balance in prepping is your household budget. It’s essential to avoid creating a personal financial disaster by overspending on prepping. Prepping can be costly, but it’s crucial to maintain your financial obligations such as mortgage or rent, utilities, and other bills. It’s important to balance your prepping plans with your budget to avoid putting yourself in financial jeopardy.


Spending more than you should

Many people have the misconception that they can buy their way to being prepared by simply swiping their credit cards and stocking up on supplies. However, being prepared is not just about accumulating stuff, but also about acquiring the necessary skills to use it effectively. While supplies are important, skills are just as crucial to survival. Therefore, buying a bunch of supplies without knowing how to use them is not going to help you in the long run.

For instance, having the best survival knife on the market won’t be of much help if you don’t know how to handle it or sharpen it when it gets dull. Similarly, even the most amazing backpack may be a disaster for you if it doesn’t fit properly or you don’t know how to pack it correctly.

Moreover, price doesn’t always equate to quality. Although it’s true that you typically get what you pay for, there are plenty of high-quality, affordable items out there. Conversely, some expensive products are not worth their hefty price tags.

Simply throwing money at the problem won’t work. You need to invest time and energy in learning skills and acquiring knowledge. Slow and steady progress will lead to long-term success. Therefore, it’s important to strike a balance between accumulating supplies and acquiring skills, as both are equally important for being truly prepared.

Not knowing your limits

It’s one thing to have all the gear and supplies you need in a crisis, but it’s another thing entirely to know how to use them properly. Similarly, it’s one thing to have a plan in place for an emergency situation, but it’s another thing to be physically and mentally capable of carrying out that plan. This is why it’s important to not only test your gear but also test yourself from time to time and see what you’re actually capable of doing.

For example, many preppers and survivalists plan to bug out on foot if something major were to happen. But if you can hardly get to your mailbox and back without having to sit down for a breather, a hike of several miles or more isn’t likely to end well for you. This is why it’s important to not only be physically fit but also to be realistic about your abilities. Sure, once upon a time, you were able to carry a giant ruck for endless miles. But that was 30 years and 80 pounds ago.

However, being prepared isn’t just about physical conditioning. It also involves developing a range of skill sets, such as first aid, navigation, and wild edible identification. While it’s important to read books and magazines to gain knowledge in these areas, the only way to truly learn is to get your hands dirty. For instance, gardening involves more than just tossing seeds in the soil and watering them from time to time. Without practice and learning from your mistakes, you can’t expect to reliably grow large quantities of produce.

It’s crucial to examine all of your emergency plans and determine just how realistic they are. This means taking stock of your current physical and mental limitations and working to improve both your skills and physical abilities. By doing so, you can better prepare yourself for any situation that may arise. Remember, being prepared isn’t just about having the right gear, it’s about having the skills and abilities to use that gear effectively. By testing yourself and working to improve your abilities, you’ll be better equipped to handle whatever comes your way.

Not checking expiration dates

not checking expiration dates

One common mistake that preppers make is not checking the expiration dates on the food, medicine, and other supplies they have stockpiled. While it’s great to have a stash of essentials on hand, it’s important to remember that many products have a limited shelf life.

For example, canned goods can last for years, but they do eventually expire and lose nutritional value. Medications also have an expiration date, and taking expired medication can be ineffective or even dangerous. Additionally, water stored in containers that haven’t been properly sanitized or that have been stored for too long can become contaminated and unsafe to drink.

By not regularly checking the expiration dates on their supplies, preppers run the risk of having unusable or even harmful items when they need them the most. To avoid this mistake, it’s important to keep track of the expiration dates of all stockpiled items and rotate them out as needed. This ensures that the supplies are fresh and safe to use in an emergency situation.

Expired medicine may not only be ineffective, but it can also be dangerous. Over time, the chemical composition of medicine can change, leading to potentially harmful side effects. Similarly, medical gear such as bandages or sutures can lose their effectiveness over time, making them useless when they are needed most.

Another mistake some preppers make is not properly maintaining and testing their survival gear. For example, they may have a high-end backpack, but they have never tested it out on a long hike. Similarly, they may have a survival knife but have never sharpened it or practiced using it.

Without regular maintenance and testing, survival gear can fail when it is needed most. For example, a backpack that has never been properly adjusted can cause back pain or blisters on a long hike. A survival knife that has never been sharpened can be useless when it comes to cutting through tough materials.


Prepping is an important step towards being prepared for emergencies or disasters. However, it is important to avoid common mistakes that could render your efforts futile. Some of these mistakes include not testing your gear and skills, neglecting physical fitness, ignoring the importance of documentation, and not checking expiration dates on stockpiled items.

It is also important to consider both the quality and quantity of your supplies, as well as their specific uses and applications. By avoiding these mistakes and being diligent in your prepping efforts, you can increase your chances of successfully navigating challenging situations and protecting yourself and your loved ones.

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 “Common Prepping Mistakes You Should Avoid”

  1. I just read your story on todays date where there is a discussion between you and your wife what vehicle is best to take if you are making a run for it (your truck or your wife’s Toyota). My answer is this both vehicles should have receivers hitches on them and electric trailer brakes. You should purchase an enclosed 20 to 24 foot tandem axle trailer. The Toyota should go up in back of it and hook the combo to the F150. Now you make your run for it. The trailer can hold extra fuel, food, water, generator, have beds etc, etc. The wife and you can ride in same vehicle for defense and protection. If the truck breaks down you can leave it and have a second chance to hook the trailer to the Toyota and continue the run for it. Yes the Toyota is undersized for towing this. But, it will do it! In a shit hits the fan you will not be going 70MPH down the freeway anyway. If I had a small motorcycle (and I do) a 225cc dual sport it would be in the trailer to as a final back up al is better than walking.


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