Since you’re reading this article, I’m assuming you’ve swallowed the red pill. But before you rush over to Amazon and spend all your money on gear let me tell you about some the mistakes that either I or other preppers have done. Why not learn from us so you can side-step them?
Mistake #1: Buying Low Quality GearIf you’re like me when I started doing this, you’ll probably get the cheapest multi-tool you can find. Since you won’t be using it much, you may ask yourself: why spend money on something expensive? Well, because cheap gear can fail you when you need it most. The only way you can win with it is if nothing ever happens and you’ll never have to use it. Other than that, it’s a gamble.
You don’t need friends in the army to tell you what to get. You’ve got plenty of blogs, forums and the comments section on Amazon to make the right decision.
Mistake #2: Not Acting on the Info They ReadIf all you’ve been doing is sit inside your home on the Internet, reading and buying things, you’re not as prepared as you think. Your purchases are giving you a false sense of security and that’s downright dangerous. Prepping involves activities such as:
- getting in shape
- going camping and/or hiking to see how you and your family like it
- testing your weapons, tools and gear
- inspecting and rotating your stockpile
- taking first aid classes
- going to flea markets to learn how to negotiate
- meeting preppers and likeminded people
- taking free or paid survival classes
- making a plan of action to cover the most important scenarios they might have to face
Mistake #3: Putting All Their Eggs in One BasketNewbies focus on having a bug out bag because it’s what most people recommend to get started. But instead on focusing on making that bag perfect, how about you start doing other things, such as stocking up on supplies in your car’s trunk or on getting a few items for your everyday carry?
The reason is, you’re more likely to need that bottle of water in your car or use a bandage than to actually bug out through the woods, as the classic survival scenario goes. Think in terms of maximizing your chances of coming out unharmed from any critical scenario and you’ll also be more likely to spend less.
Mistake #4: Talking About ItNeedless to say, the less you talk, the less you reveal about yourself and your preps, so the safer you’ll be. I know you probably feel like telling everyone about this new community you’ve discovered of people who want to prepare, but just because it makes sense to you, this doesn’t mean it’ll make sense to them.
Some people get it, others don’t, so the best thing to do is to keep quiet, keep prepping and worry less about the fact that most people are severely unprepared for disasters and personal emergencies.
Mistake #5: Ignoring Mental PreparationHave you seen YouTube videos of people in distress? Do you think you would’ve done the same if you were in their place? If you’ve never been in close combat or, at least, in the army, chances are you’re overestimating your ability to keep your cool when facing your own death.
What can you do? A few things:
- visualize successfully escaping danger
- watch as many videos as you can (flash floods, earthquakes, firearm assaults) and see yourself in the middle of the action
- take a first aid course
- start a martial art class and make it a goal to become good at it (at an amateur level, of course)
Mistake #6: Focusing On Food More Than on WaterYou obviously need both but water is more important. Remember the rule of threes? You can live up to 3 weeks without food but up to 3 days without water. Besides, stockpiling food is more complicated because you need a cool, dry, dark place to maximize the shelf life of your food. You also need the right containers and preservatives (Mylar bags, plastic food-grade buckets etc.)
On the other hand, stockpiling water is easy. You still need to keep it in a cool dark place if you have large quantities but, as a newbie, you can store your bottles pretty much anywhere (except your attic). Don’t forget to keep a bottle in your car.
Mistake #7: Spending Too Much MoneyOk, this somewhat goes against what I said in the beginning, that you usually get what you pay for... but there are exceptions:
- you can assemble your first aid kit and bug out bag instead of buying pre-made ones
- you can start your own food stockpile instead of buying ready-made buckets
- you can choose generic equivalent medicine instead of branded ones that do the exact same thing (full list here)
- you can take a look inside your attic, tool shed and all your drawers to find items you haven’t used in years that might be useful
Final WordI hope you don’t think this list of mistakes is, by any means, comprehensive. These are just a few of the most important ones that should save you some cash. You know what it would really help other readers? If you posted your own mistakes below. Let’s try to make this list bigger, share your experiences below.
The writer of this article would like to follow his own advice and remain anonymous.