I was going to call this article “Ten Mistakes New Prepper’s Make” but then it dawned on me that veteran Prepper’s make these mistakes too! One of those veteran Prepper’s might even be named “Chris”. Making mistakes is human nature. Learning from them and modifying our actions and behavior is how we grow and improve. That being said, following are ten mistakes Prepper’s make.
This happens to many new Prepper’s. I think this is because when one decides to prepare, it is often due to the fact that they have awakened to the many real dangers to our modern way of life and realize how ill-prepared they are. I wrote an article called Not Prepared Enough Syndrome that covers this in further detail.
Getting overwhelmed isn’t just something that happens to new Prepper’s. There are plenty of us whose blood pressure rises when new threats pop up. We can still feel that we’re not prepared enough to face what could happen.
When this starts to happen to me, I just reaffirm that I am as prepared as I can be and will face things with the Marine slogan of “Improvise, adapt and overcome”. I also rest in the fact that things are in God’s hands and find peace in that.
Blindly Following Others
Part of the process is learning from others but when it comes to preparedness, we need to pick and choose what will work in our lives. I hope no one goes along with everything I say and tries to mold it to their lives. I do what I do because it works for me. You should take the things you like from this site and others, and apply what works for you, while getting rid of what doesn’t.
Not Storing What You Eat and Eating What You Store
This is one of the The Ten Commandments of Preparedness I came up with. This is a mistake many of us make. I know I’ve purchased some food based on its storage life and not because we eat it.
I think it is common for people to have a favorite area of preparedness and it makes sense that the favored area gets more attention. Keep in mind The Five Basic Human Needs and having a well-rounded approach to preparedness is the best method. Having a safe full of guns and ammo does you little good if your family is starving. Then again, a year’s worth of food does you little good to protect you from Joe Dirtbag and his merry band of takers.
The truth is that none of us know how or when things will fall apart. Being able to cook and feed, provide and heat shelter, purify drinking water and defend yourself and your family are all musts!
Only Preparing for the Big Ones
One mistake I have seen is people preparing for the large scale events that have a small chance of happening, while ignoring the smaller scale things that actually happen in their area. I explained this in greater detail in Disaster Probability. While I think a general approach to preparedness is best, I think it also makes sense to make sure we’re prepared to face the events that are most likely to happen in our area. For my area, that includes cold, snow and ice. I know it will snow and there is a potential for power lines to come down. It makes more sense for me to prepare for that over an EMP.
Placing Gear Over Knowledge and Skill
Being prepared can mean acquiring gear but can lead to a false sense of security. There is also a chance some might think that because they have a piece of gear, they are prepared. If I’m bleeding, I would rather have someone who has a firm understanding of first aid and basic equipment over someone who had a top-of-the-line emergency medical kit but has no idea how to use it.
Loose Lips Sink Ships
For a few different reasons, I think it is a good idea to keep your prepping a secret. If people know you prepare, try to keep the extent of your preparedness a secret. Maybe you have heard of Being Gray, which is the process of blending in, keeping a low profile and maintaining OpSec (Operational Security).
If you feel led to share preparedness with others, it is best to be as vague about your own preparedness as possible. The more people who know you prepare and who also know the level to which you prepare, the more people you will either be forced to turn away or share your preparations with.
If stuff does hit the fan and you decide to share with others, for many reasons, it is best to do so in secret.
Bug Out Mistakes
There are actually a few mistakes people make when it comes to bugging out or bugging in. Some people only plan for bugging out, while others only prepare for sticking it out at home. I personally think that for the vast majority of people in the vast majority of situations, it is better to plan on staying home and riding out whatever is going on. That being said, I think everyone should have a BOB and a bug out plan. Follow this link to four Bug Out Myths. I also give a means for everyone to select multiple bug out locations, even if you don’t have a stocked bug out location.
This is probably the biggest mistake people make; getting tunnel vision and thinking the “collapse” is going to happen a certain way. This leave people vulnerable to countless other potential dangers. We should be aware that there are levels of hitting the fan and know it’s possible for the stuff to hit the fan at any time, for anyone.
Living in Fear
This might not be the most common mistake but it can be the most dangerous. We don’t know when or how things will go sideways. Even if we did, worrying about it isn’t going to do anything to keep it from happening. I wrote an article about finding joy in the darkness. In it, I give some tips on how to keep your spirits up, even when life is hard. In the end, all we can do is our best to be prepared and rest in the fact that things are in God’s hands. Find peace in that!