Don’t Get Caught Making These 11 Prepping Mistakes

by Tommy Grant

Whether you’re new to prepping or have been at it for years, everyone has made some prepping mistakes. Prepping can be a challenge, even if you’re a seasoned prepper. There’s soooo much advice out there that it’s hard to tell where to focus. Here’s where I think most people tend to get it wrong.

1. Not Storing What You Eat

When I first started prepping, I bought any affordable canned food I could get my hands on. Years later, many of those items were still sitting on my shelves. Chances are, if SHTF, I’d be pretty disappointed in the food I’d have to eat, and it would likely already be expired. Stock the items you eat on a regular basis, just in more significant quantities. Focus on ingredients as well as pre-made meals that don’t require any additional ingredients or water to eat. Not only will you have lots of items you enjoy during the apocalypse, but since you’ll also be using it on a rotational basis in your everyday life, it won’t be nearly as old at the start of any emergency. This gives you the best chance to keep everything edible for as long as possible when things go downhill. 

2. No Long Term Water Plan

If your everyday water source disappeared tomorrow, how long could you last? Does your well rely on electricity? What if your city’s water supply became compromised? For basic survival, you’ll need a minimum of one gallon of water per person per day. Pets will require additional water as well. If you were able to locate a secondary water source, do you have a way to purify the water for drinking? I recommend having a few layers of water preps, as this is a basic survival need for everyone. You’ll want a short-term purification method, a long-term purification method, and multiple ways to store and gather additional water as well. Start small with something like Aqua-tabs or a few cases of bottled water, and add additional layers as your budget permits.

3. Too Much Faith In The Medical System

Covid was an excellent example of how basic medical care can disappear quickly in a crisis. Same with dental and eye care. Keep up to date on your visits, have an excellent stash of medical supplies, and take as many courses as possible to learn medical terms and skills.

Consider grabbing items like crutches and wheelchairs at yard sales, where you can get them at a fraction of their original price. Get ahead on any prescription medications you need, so that you have a cushion if the item becomes hard to get. If you are able, improve some aspects of your health to see if you can eliminate the need for those meds entirely.

Telling everyone about your supplies is a common prepping mistake

4. Being a Blabbermouth

It can be tempting to talk about your preps with people you know, whether it be neighbors or coworkers. If you announce that you have a basement full of supplies to everyone you meet, you will be the first person they think of when SHTF. Also, they may inadvertently mention your supplies to someone else in conversation. Now someone you’ve never met knows about your basement bunker. Remember, nice people aren’t necessarily good people.

5. Forgetting About Skills

Buying sutures doesn’t help if you don’t know how to sew a wound. Flint isn’t handy if you’ve never tried to start a fire with it. A knife in the hands of someone who has never held one can be disastrous.

Not trying your equipment before you need it is one of the biggest prepping mistakes we make, in my opinion. Practicing with all of your gear, and learning the skills associated with using it, is absolutely critical. Remember, you may not have access to any of the outside services that you do now. If you don’t know how to do it, it may not get done.

6. It Can’t Happen To Me

I remember being horrified when I saw that the Chinese government was locking people down in early 2020. I felt so bad for those poor people on the other side of the world. Four weeks later, the United States implemented lockdowns here at home.

Never make the potentially fatal mistake of thinking that something could not possibly happen where you are located. It can, and you need to be ready.

7. Throwing Food Out Too Early

Many non-perishable items are good long after the date printed on the packaging. Notice that many items now give a “best by” date. An item only expires if it specifically says “Exp on” or “Use by.” Canned goods are usually good for many years past their marked date. Some exceptions include evaporated milk, tomato products, and pop-top cans. (All of those are also good for a few years after their date but tend to expire before their other canned counterparts). The dates are mostly there to cover their butts, convince you to throw your food away before you need to, and spend more money on a new can. The same holds true for most medications.

8. Overspending

You don’t need to buy everything all at once. Especially at the expense of your other bills. Start slow and build up your stockpiles a little at a time. You’ll be surprised how quickly you accumulate things. Keep some money in reserve, whether it be in the bank or cash, for emergencies that will inevitably arise. If you are breaking the bank, you are doing it wrong. Don’t prioritize your long-term survival over your immediate survival needs.

9. Lone-Wolf Syndrome

Surviving alone in the woods with nothing but your bug-out bag and a tarp is not a very viable long-term solution. Just watch a few episodes of the popular History Channel show Alone to see how quickly one’s mental health breaks down without human interaction.

Survival is also quite a lot of work in many scenarios. Having additional people to split the workloads and responsibilities can go a long way. Start connecting with like-minded people now, while times are still relatively calm, so that you know who you can rely on in an emergency.

10. Not Prepping Evenly

Keep in mind that there are lots of different areas to prep. Don’t stock up on food but forget about water. Don’t invest in a giant ham radio system that will get stolen from an unsecured home. Make sure you have something small prepped for food, water, security, communications, medical supplies, etc., before you start stockpiling high-end items for one specific situation. Having a Berkey water filter or Harvest Right freeze dryer is great, but chances are you’d be much better prepared if you have spread that money out over a solid ground-level supply on a wider variety of survival areas.

11. Only Listening To One News Source

Today, more than ever, it is important to get your news from multiple sources so that you are able to see all sides of a story. Many stations are slanted and leave out important details, regardless of what side of the aisle you are on. If you want a full picture on any subject, you’re going to have to change the channel every once in a while!

Final Thoughts

Over the years, these have been the biggest lessons I have learned, primarily through making mistakes first-hand. What are some of the best lessons you’ve learned on your preparedness journey? Let us know in the comments!

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