5 Things Beginner Preppers Always Regret

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Practice and experience are the keys to mastering any craft, and prepping is no different. Unfortunately, most people have to undergo a frustrating learning curve before they start to truly understand how to prep properly.

In hindsight, those mistakes will seem obvious, but to your inexperienced self, they were practically invisible.

Try to learn from the lessons other preppers have already learned the hard way. Avoid these common beginner prepper mistakes.

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1. Fixating On SHTF Scenarios
From Survival News Online:
If a nuclear strike is your primary concern where you live, move. With that exception, the first step in preparing for emergencies is not to quit your job, sell the house, and move to Utah. The first thing you need to do is prepare for likely emergencies. It does you no good to sell the house and move into an off-grid, radiation-shielded bunker if you don’t even know how much food to store in it, how to filter your water, or how to escape your rat hole if it’s ever compromised. I’m not saying you’ll never need a fallout shelter; I’m saying power outages happen every year and sometimes last several days or weeks, and nuclear attacks are a little more rare.

Assess the risks in your area and be ready for them. The most common risk is interruption of public utilities by any number of natural causes, so prepare to eat, drink, shelter yourself, and administer first aid for at least two weeks before you start digging that fallout shelter.

2. Not Finding Likeminded Allies
From Survivalist Prepper:

I can’t speak for anyone other than myself on this matter, but from the way the mass media has portrayed preppers, I don’t run around my neighborhood and make sure everyone knows I am a prepper. I prefer to keep this to myself. But I need to stop that way of thinking, just as you do, and it isn’t easy. I am always paying attention to others, and watching what they do. I have “come out” to several people, and I was shocked to learn that they are preppers too. I can honestly say it felt as if a wave of relief had washed over me when I realized I wasn’t alone. And too see the expression on their faces, they were grateful to know they weren’t alone either. So I challenge you to put yourself out there a little bit. Keep your cautious hat on, but test the waters, and you may find out that your neighbor, or co-worker or best friends Aunt Mary is a prepper too.

3. Copying Other Preppers
From Backdoor Survival:

There is an unspoken rule of the road in boating: just because the other guy is doing it does not mean he is right or knows what he is doing. Personally I have been there and done that and nearly ended up on the rocks.

The same rule applies to prepping.

As someone who reads a lot on the internet, you have likely come across many authorities with “expert” advice on one topic or another. This is where the gray matter between your ears becomes the most important tool in your box of prepper skills. Think it through before you unilaterally apply someone’s expertise to your own situation. This is includes advice and suggestions from this website!

Go back to the beginning and do a risk analysis. Examine your budget; can you afford it? What are your living conditions? What is the likelihood that a hurricane (or earthquake or wildfire) will threaten your home? Are you physically up to the task of bugging out on foot?

Every step along the way you should be asking yourself these questions and more. You are unique. Recognize and embrace the fact that with preparedness, one size does not fit all.

4. Relying Too Heavily On Firearms
From The Prepper Journal:

I believe that every law abiding citizen can use a firearm as long as they are trained to defend themselves in certain situations. However, just because you have a gun that doesn’t mean you are going to shoot your way out of a firefight like a Navy Seal. Guns are tools but they require a lot of skill to be used effectively in highly stressful situations. You might think that if you have a gun, that is all you need to defend your family but it isn’t that simple.

Take the time to practice with your firearms often. Beyond going to the range and killing paper zombies, sign up for classes that put you in different scenarios with stress that is similar to what you will experience in a real life or death situation. At bare minimum look at this firearm as a tool that is only capable of what you are capable of doing. If you can’t handle it properly under pressure it could end up getting you killed instead of saving your life.

5. Overemphasizing Supplies
From Urban Survival Site:

Of course, just because you have all the best books on survival doesn’t mean you shouldn’t bother to learn survival skills. It’s possible your books will be destroyed or you won’t be able to get to them. The same rule applies to your survival food and gear. What if you’re at work when your home is destroyed by an explosion, earthquake or some other disastrous event? Would you still have the skills to survive, or are you completely dependent on your food and gear?

What Other Mistakes Should New Preppers Avoid?
Do you know of any other beginner mistakes new preppers could learn from? Tell us in the comments!

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11 COMMENTS

  1. Also something a person might remember is, if you have a bug out bag, think about the weight. When you fill it, recheck the items you have put into it, bet there is a lot of items you don’t really need. If you pack a weapon remember the weight of ammunition is heavy.

  2. You have every right to say what you have about Apple. I believe, however, that Apple has not even tried to work with the authorities. I do not always or necessarily agree with the government but when terrorism is evident, I believe we need to step over the line. I wonder how you would feel if your family was killed because a phone could not be tapped.

    • Probably about as bad as I would feel if my family was killed because my phone “was” tapped.

    • Fishhunter, If the government really needs to “tap” a phone and they have the probable cause to do so, it’s a routine thing to obtain the courts authorization to do so. If they don’t have the probable cause to do so, they absolutely should not! Mass surveillance is wrong and a violation of our Constitutional rights. As far as I know, all this mass surveillance on our citizens have prevented no crimes. Absolutely a different matter with those in our country illegally. They have no such rights.

  3. I’m 72, and 100% disabled. I’m a Viet Nam vet, I live alone and I am barely mobile. If the SHTF, I have no choice but to shelter in place. I have plenty of weapons and I am slowly building a stockpile of food. My biggest complaint about the whole movement is that the writers and authorities never speak to the disabled. They all assume we are 39, in good physical condition, and spend hours training with a weapon. Reality shows that there are many people like myself, and not a whole hell of a lot of information for the disabled is out there. We are still here, folks. Not all of us have fell through the cracks!

    • Charlie,
      I don’t think that it’s so much that nobody thinks about the disabled, it’s that they feel like the disabled are a lost cause. Most feel that the disabled are doomed, and in many cases that will be the outcome.
      However, there are exceptions to any rule, and you likely are one. The majority of the severely disabled will indeed not survive long, one of the main reason is that so many of them are so dependent on the infrastructure and the world around them being accommodating. Nothing could be further from the truth. Everyone is going to be forced to be independent to a degree, you have taken the initiative, and started your independence early. This is what prepping is all about. You’re ex military. You remember the old saying about improvise, adapt, and overcome. It is drilled into all combat troops, and it has to be a disabled prepper’s creed as well.
      I’m not disabled, I’m just getting old. Some of the same problems you are looking at are starting to appear to me. Mine will get worse, where your’s will compound with age as well. It ain’t gonna be a walk in the park, but I plan on sticking it out as long as I can and helping as many of my family and friends as I can, for as long as I can. But NOBODY gets out alive. And that’s always been the case, SHTF or not.

    • Charlie,

      My wife and I are preparing in every way we can. With this said we had my father come live with us the last seven years of his life and he passed away Jan 25th, two years ago. This past June her father came to live with us because of bad health and he passed in Dec 2015. We were preparing with them in mind, but the nagging reality was always hanging over our heads that those with infirmities cost so much more and also hinder movement.

      Both men were awesome and had so much to offer. Their deaths were hard and I can’t imagine ever leaving someone I care about behind, but in the end I would have to ensure the survival of everyone else. My father-in-law actually made the hard decision about how much we could/would contribute to his survival. I have to be realistic in planning and preparing, but I’m not willing to sell my soul.

      Here is my advice to you and others reading this. Think real hard about what you have to offer and then create a list of skills and tangible contributions. Then being realistic, write down what you need or cannot do for yourself. Here comes the tricky part. From both lists, what can you actually do and what can you overcome?

      Now talk to your neighbors, family, and friends and show them the list. This is basically networking and you will be surprised with what others can and will do for you. You may be barely mobile, but you have skills the kids today lack. They can do the heavy work while maybe you tend the garden or work on transportation. You can direct setting up perimeter defenses, fields of fire, and creating obstacles that push opposition into your fire lanes.

      You’re not helpless and you have a lot to offer, but you are the one who has to sell it and then set it up. Alone you are a soft target and won’t last long, but teamed up with others you are strong. It’s your choice which path you take. Chose wisely and don’t make others make the hard decisions for you.

      Paul

  4. As a addendum to your article, I’d like to add that it is likely a good idea NOT to put all your eggs in one basket. Diversify, especially in WHERE YOU STORE YOUR SUPPLIES, be it guns and ammo, food, water, medical supplies, whatever. Nobody can truly cover ALL the bases, but cover as many as you can, and plan on a plan B, or maybe even a plan C, as everything is going to be in flux for a bit. Don’t spread your goodies out so far you can’t get to them quickly, but don’t put everything in one big pile, either.
    Even if sheltering in place is your plan, spread some of your stuff around the hideout. You might get in a pinch and not be able to freely move, even in there. Having some supplies in another room might save you in a unsuccessful defense against an invader or thief.

  5. I sympathize with Charlie, I am a 71 year old Vietnam Vet with type 2 diabetes (thanks to agent orange).My wife does not believe that we will ever lose what we have, even though we almost lost our 2nd amendment with the past regime. My biggest concern is I am unable to obtain more than a 30 day supply if insulin at a time. Because of Vietnam I get my 30 day supply from the VA but if I just got a prescription and tried to get some, A. it will be about $700. for a 30 day supply and
    B. it only has a shelf life of a little over a year

  6. Great article and replies, my bit is people do not rethink or think enough about survival. There is the temptation to have every new product, knife, survival tool, etc. and thus need a vehicle to carry it in. I appreciate the articles that say pick a favorite knife, saw, and hatchet or machete. What items work best and it seems that is how it all should work. I have camped and prepped in some way all my life and I enjoy and appreciate how products have changed for the better. The old saying still runs true ,How many hammers ,saws etc. can you use . I got my Dads tools after 52 years of Auto Body and Mechanical work and believe me we had tools for everything. I gave away most of the repeats and what I did not need and made a lot of people happy, I keep the heart felt stuff and what I need and use ,but the rest You are welcome.

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